Pharmacy Tech School
How to Find the Best One Near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Vestavia Hills AL, you may be thinking about just how to select the best school to receive your education and training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? When checking out pharmacy technician schools, many potential students begin by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are significant concerns when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. You may also choose to look into several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Vestavia Hills AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Add 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 audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Vestavia Hills AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about two 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 in the future. Each program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Vestavia Hills AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacist technician online school, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Vestavia Hills pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed over the internet in your Vestavia Hills AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have decided whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech colleges to pick from in the Vestavia Hills AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Vestavia Hills home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are many other issues that you must take into consideration so that you may effectively compare schools. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate 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 receive a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Vestavia Hills AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician school needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This requirement can be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Vestavia Hills AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial job in Vestavia Hills AL upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Vestavia Hills AL residence. Individuals who have chosen 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 school that is out of state or even 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 commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy tech college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Vestavia Hills AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Learn More about Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in Vestavia Hills
Enroll in the Best Vestavia Hills Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech schools include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the proper training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Vestavia Hills Alabama.
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