How to Choose the Right Pharmacist Technician Program Near Talladega Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near TalladegaAL, you may be pondering just how to select the best school to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. A number of future students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important factors when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. And if you are interested in studying in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college 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 take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Talladega AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily functions a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree and Certificate Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Talladega AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Talladega AL pharmacies will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online program, it's important to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Talladega pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Talladega AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college 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 study with a less supervised form of education, then online classes might be the best option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Courses
After you have decided whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech schools to choose from in the Talladega AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Talladega home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are many other issues that you must take into consideration so that you may effectively compare colleges. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Make sure to verify that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Talladega AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This condition may be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech 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 meet the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Talladega Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in Talladega AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some support. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Talladega AL residence. Those who have decided 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 bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps 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 typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. 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 some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist technician program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt 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 offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Talladega Pharmacy Technician School
Getting the right pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech programs include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to select a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the proper education and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Talladega Alabama.