How to Pick the Best Pharmacist Technician School Near Talladega Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near TalladegaAL, you might be wondering just how to select the ideal college to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated also. And if you are interested in studying in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have various job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Talladega AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily functions a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is a very rewarding career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two alternatives to training to be 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 typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Talladega AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Talladega AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online training program, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Talladega pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to acquire some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed over the internet in your Talladega AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials may be decreased 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 securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 classes may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have decided whether you wish to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician programs to choose from in the Talladega AL area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Talladega home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other variables that you must consider in order to properly compare programs. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a complete superior education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training 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 College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician program should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This condition may be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Talladega Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that initial job in Talladega AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting task without any assistance. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Talladega AL home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern 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 school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy tech school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Talladega AL area, make certain that they are offered. 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 carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Talladega Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech programs incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the appropriate training and commitment you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in Talladega Alabama.