Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Vestavia Hills AL so you can receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. Of course the initial step is to find colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. Many prospective students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important concerns 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 cost and location. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Tech Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have numerous job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Vestavia Hills AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor 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 very common, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 alternatives to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Vestavia Hills AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Vestavia Hills AL employers will only employ a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online school, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in a local Vestavia Hills pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Vestavia Hills AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online classes may be the ideal solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have determined whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy technician schools to choose from in the Vestavia Hills AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Vestavia Hills home. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare programs. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a complete quality education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Vestavia Hills AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician program needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This requirement can be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire 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 prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Vestavia Hills AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Vestavia Hills AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some support. Ask if the schools you are reviewing 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 a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Vestavia Hills AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep 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 often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one 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 final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist tech school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Vestavia Hills AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Vestavia Hills Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their health is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the right education and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Vestavia Hills Alabama.