Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Find the Right One Near Troy Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Troy AL, you may be thinking about just how to select the ideal college to receive your education and training. Of course the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. When looking for pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students start by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are significant factors when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. You may also decide to look into some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have various job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Troy AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily services a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Troy AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Troy AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Schools
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online training program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in a local Troy pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Troy AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online program you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the right solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
Once you have determined whether you would like to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy tech schools to select from in the Troy AL area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Troy residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other variables that you must take into consideration in order to properly compare schools. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Troy AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of employers prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician college should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This condition can be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Troy AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first position in Troy AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting task without any assistance. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Troy AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Troy AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Troy Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech programs incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the right education and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Troy Alabama.