Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Find the Best One Near Trussville Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Trussville AL, you might be pondering just how to select the ideal school to get your education and training. Naturally the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. You might also choose to look into some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Trussville AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever give medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is a very gratifying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two alternatives to training to be 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 accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Trussville AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Trussville AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacist technician online school, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in an area Trussville pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to get some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Trussville AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college 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 training might be the ideal solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have determined whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician colleges to select 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 colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Trussville residence. 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 variables that you should take into consideration so that you may properly compare schools. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it might help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Trussville AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician program should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Trussville AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first position in Trussville AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some help. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Trussville AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Trussville AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Learn More on How to Become a Pharmacy Tech in Trussville
Enroll in the Best Trussville Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech schools incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to enroll in 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 other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the proper education and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Trussville Alabama.
Trussville Pharmacy Tech Certificate | Trussville Pharmacy Technician Schools