Pharmacy Tech School
How to Enroll In the Best One Near Trussville Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Trussville AL so you can receive the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. Usually the initial step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students start by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are significant concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. You may also want to look into several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifications and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have various job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Trussville AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is a very satisfying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Trussville AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Trussville AL pharmacies will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed 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 called for every 2 years by each program, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Schools
Prior to choosing a pharmacist tech online program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Trussville pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Trussville AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online training might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have determined whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist technician programs to pick from in the Trussville AL area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Trussville home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are many other issues that you should consider in order to properly compare schools. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a complete quality education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Trussville AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician college should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This requirement can be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Trussville AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that initial position in Trussville AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging task without any assistance. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Trussville AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Trussville AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Learn More about Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in Trussville
Enroll in the Right Trussville Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech colleges include both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to select a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate education and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Trussville Alabama.
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