Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Talladega Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Talladega AL, you may be wondering just how to pick the ideal school to receive your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. When checking out pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are significant concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. You might also want to look into some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have various job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Talladega AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 alternatives to training to be a tech whether 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 present an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Talladega AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Talladega AL employers will only employ a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online school, it's important to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. 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 under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to obtain some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your Talladega AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example 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 may be the best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have determined whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist technician colleges to choose from in the Talladega AL area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Talladega residence. 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 several other variables that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare schools. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it might help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might 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 Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician school should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This condition can be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Talladega AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Talladega AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some support. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Talladega AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble 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 choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. 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, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Talladega Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where helping people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech programs incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to select a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the right education and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Talladega Alabama.