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Pharmacy Technician Schools | Get Your Certificate or Degree – Columbia AL

How to Pick a Pharmacy Technician Training Program near Columbia 36319

Columbia AL pharmacy tech preparing prescriptionNow that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Columbia AL, you may be thinking about how to select the right college to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. Many prospective students start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important factors when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation should be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing 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.

The Duties of Pharmacy Technicians

Columbia AL pharmacy technician dispensing medsPharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Columbia AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist’s directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily duties a pharmacy tech may carry out are:

  • Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
  • Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
  • Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
  • Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
  • Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory

Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with low 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 well-being.

Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees

Columbia AL pharmacy medication supply shelvesIndividuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at {an approved|an accepted Columbia AL pharmacy or similar 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 furnish a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.

Pharmacy Tech Certification Options

It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Columbia AL employers will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:

  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
  • Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).

The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacist Tech Online Schools

woman attending pharmacy tech school online in Columbia ALPrior to deciding on a pharmacist technician online program, it’s important to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Columbia pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Columbia AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online classes might be the best choice for you.

What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs

Once you have determined whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician colleges to select from in the Columbia AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Columbia residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other variables that you need to consider in order to properly compare programs. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.

Is the Pharmacist Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you get a superior education, it might assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Columbia AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.

Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many employers desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician program needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This qualification can be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.

Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Columbia AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.

Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first position in Columbia AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any help. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.

Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Columbia 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one 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 sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Columbia AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enrolling in a Columbia AL Pharmacy Tech School?

If you are planning to attend a Pharmacy Technician Certificate or Degree Program in the Columbia Alabama area, you may find the following background information about the location of your school campus interesting and informative.

Al Columbia

At the age of 18[1] Columbia was hired to assist Bill Sienkiewicz in illustrating Alan Moore's ambitious Big Numbers series. When Sienkiewicz withdrew from the series in 1990 after the release of the first two issues, Moore and his backers at Tundra Publishing asked the young Columbia to become its sole artist. In 1992, with no more issues released, Columbia himself left the project under a cloud of rumors and accusations, including claims that he had destroyed his own artwork for Big Numbers #4.[2][3][4] Columbia declined to address the subject publicly for several years, writing in a 1998 letter to The Comics Journal that "I could easily launch into a tirade about the extensive horror of my Tundra experience, but I much prefer the very entertaining and conflicting accounts already in circulation."[5] In later statements he confirmed that he destroyed his artwork but disputed other claims by the principal figures in the fiasco.[6][7]

In a 2011 article reflecting on his Big Numbers experience, Sienkiewicz wrote that he and Columbia had long since reconciled over the matter, and that he was content to "[c]halk the feud up to the folly of youth."[8]

Columbia's first solo comic book, Doghead, was released by Tundra Publishing in 1992. It contains three short stories, two in black and white and one in full color. Paul Gravett described it as "three dark, stylish tales, indebted to Sienkiewicz and McKean but with hints of [Columbia's] emerging singular identity".[9]

Pick the Best Pharmacist Technician Training Program Columbia AL

Columbia AL corner drugstoreReceiving the best pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were trained “on the job”. These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech programs include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have covered in this article, it’s essential to choose a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. And if you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate training and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Columbia AL.

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