How to Select the Best Pharmacy Technician College Near Talladega Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near TalladegaAL, you may be pondering how to select the best program to receive your education and training. Of course the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of potential students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important concerns when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school 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 to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Role of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have many job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision 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 absolute when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help 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 provide medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily duties a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage 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 technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is a very rewarding career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degree and Certificate Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 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 certificate or a diploma, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Talladega AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Talladega AL employers 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 requires 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 only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Colleges Online
Before selecting a pharmacy tech online program, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in a local Talladega pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Talladega AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have determined whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacist tech colleges to choose from in the Talladega 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 discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Talladega residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other variables that you need to consider so that you may properly compare schools. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Talladega AL employers 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 every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician school needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This qualification may be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled 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 prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Talladega Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Talladega AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any support. Find out 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 college has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Talladega AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher 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 speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Talladega AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Talladega Pharmacy Technician Program
Finding the ideal pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech schools incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to select a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the appropriate education and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Talladega Alabama.