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

How to Enroll In a Pharmacist Tech College near Athens 35611

Athens AL pharmacy tech preparing prescriptionNow that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Athens AL, you might be thinking about how to pick the right program to receive your education and training. Of course the initial step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many potential students start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant factors when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be evaluated also. And if you are interested in studying in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let’s take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.

The Function of Pharmacy Technicians

Athens AL pharmacy technician dispensing medsPharmacy techs have multiple job functions, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Athens AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist’s instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy tech may perform are:

  • Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
  • Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
  • Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
  • Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
  • Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory

As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very rewarding career helping customers with their health and wellness.

Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas

Athens AL pharmacy medication supply shelvesIndividuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 options to becoming a tech 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 present an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at {an approved|an accepted Athens AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.

Pharmacist Tech Certifications Available

Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Athens 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 requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacist Technician Programs Online

woman attending pharmacy tech school online in Athens ALPrior to selecting a pharmacy tech online college, it’s important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Athens pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Athens AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes 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 comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Pharmacist Tech Schools

Once you have decided whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy tech schools to choose from in the Athens AL area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Athens home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other factors that you must consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.

Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, it can help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Athens AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.

Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech school should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This qualification may be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.

Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical 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 a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Athens AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.

Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that initial job in Athens AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult task without some support. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Athens AL home. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy technician school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Athens AL area, make certain that they are offered. 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, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.

Enrolling in a Athens AL Pharmacy Tech School?

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

Athens, Alabama

Athens is a city in Limestone County, in the State of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 21,897. The city is the county seat of Limestone County and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.

Founded in 1818 by John Coffee, Robert Beaty, John D. Carroll, and John Read, Athens is one of the oldest incorporated cities in the State of Alabama, having been incorporated one year prior to the state's admittance to the Union in 1819. Limestone County was also created by an act of the Alabama Territorial Legislature in 1818.[2][8] The town was first called Athenson, but was incorporated as Athens after the ancient city in Greece. The town's first mayor was Samuel Tanner, and the Tanner area, south of Athens, was named on his behalf.[9]

The Athens area was the home of William Wyatt Bibb, the first Governor of Alabama, and its second Governor, his brother Thomas Bibb, who succeeded him in office when he died in a fall from his horse.[10]

Pick the Ideal Pharmacy Tech Program Athens AL

Athens AL corner drugstoreGetting the right pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were taught “on the job”. These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician programs include both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it’s necessary to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. And if you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate training and dedication you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in Athens AL.

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