How to Select the Right Pharmacist Tech Training Program Near Talladega Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near TalladegaAL, you may be wondering how to pick the ideal college to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of potential students begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are critical concerns when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated as well. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Function of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Talladega AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily duties a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Talladega AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Talladega AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed 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 Technician Online Schools
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist tech online school, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Talladega pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to receive some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Talladega AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online classes may be the best solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Colleges
After you have decided 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 start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician colleges to choose from in the Talladega AL area and throughout the USA, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Talladega residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other issues that you need to consider in order to adequately compare programs. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, it might assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Talladega AL employers 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 required in all states, but a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech college needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This condition may be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Talladega Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that initial job in Talladega AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some help. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Talladega AL home. Students who have opted 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 concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing 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 final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist technician college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Talladega AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Best Talladega Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the right pharmacy tech training is an important first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech schools include both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the right education and dedication you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in Talladega Alabama.