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

How to Select a Pharmacy Technician Program near Decatur 35601

Decatur AL pharmacy tech preparing prescriptionHaving made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Decatur AL, you might be thinking about how to select the ideal program to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. Many prospective students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are critical concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let’s discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.

The Role of Pharmacy Techs

Decatur AL pharmacy technician dispensing medsPharmacy techs have numerous job responsibilities, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Decatur AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist’s instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy technician may perform are:

  • Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
  • Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
  • Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
  • Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
  • Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory

Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is a very rewarding career helping people with their health and wellness.

Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates

Decatur AL pharmacy medication supply shelvesStudents desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at {an approved|an accepted Decatur AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.

Pharmacy Technician Certification Options

Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Decatur AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that has earned certification. 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 finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacist Technician Colleges Online

woman attending pharmacy tech school online in Decatur ALBefore deciding on a pharmacist technician online program, it’s important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Decatur pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Decatur AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online training might be the best choice for you.

Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Programs

Once you have determined whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist technician colleges to select from in the Decatur AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Decatur residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are many other issues that you need to take into consideration so that you may effectively compare programs. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.

Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Don’t forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Decatur AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.

Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This requirement can be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.

Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Decatur AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.

Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Decatur AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult task without any support. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.

Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Decatur AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely 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 average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Decatur AL area, make sure 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 have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

Enrolling in a Decatur AL Pharmacy Tech School?

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

Decatur, Alabama

Decatur is a city in Morgan and Limestone counties in the State of Alabama. The city, nicknamed "The River City", is located in Northern Alabama on the banks of Wheeler Lake, along the Tennessee River. It is the largest city and county seat of Morgan County.[6] The population in 2010 was 55,683.[3]

Decatur is also the core city of the two-county large Decatur, Alabama metropolitan area which had an estimated population of 153,374 in 2013. Combined with the Huntsville Metropolitan Area, the two create the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area, of which Decatur is the second-largest city.

Like many southern cities in the early 19th century, Decatur's early success was based upon its location along a river. Railroad routes and boating traffic pushed the city to the front of North Alabama's economic atmosphere. The city rapidly grew into a large economic center within the Tennessee Valley and was a hub for travelers and cargo between Nashville and Mobile, as well as Chattanooga and New Orleans. Throughout the 20th century, the city experienced steady growth, but was eclipsed as the regional economic center by the fast-growing Huntsville during the space race. The city now finds its economy heavily based on manufacturing, mining, cargo transit, chemical, and high-tech companies such as Vulcan Materials,[7]Daikin,[8]Toray,[9]United Launch Alliance.[10]

Pick the Ideal Pharmacy Tech Training Decatur AL

Decatur AL corner drugstoreGetting the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained “on the job”. These days, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech schools include both classroom and clinical training. As we have discussed in this article, it’s important to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. And if you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the right education and determination you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in Decatur AL.

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