Pharmacy Tech School
How to Select the Right One Near Talladega Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Talladega AL so you can get the right training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. Of course the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. When checking out pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones 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. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. And if you are interested in studying at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and 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 certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy techs have many job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Talladega AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily functions a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Talladega AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs choose to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many Talladega AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, 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 exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Prior to choosing a pharmacy tech online program, it's important to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Talladega pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to get some work place experience. Fortunately 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 accommodating for most students, especially for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online classes may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
Once you have determined whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech schools to choose from in the Talladega AL area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools 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 many other variables that you must consider so that you may adequately compare programs. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have earned a regional or national 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 certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it might assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. 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 Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech college should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Talladega AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Talladega AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some help. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent 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 graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Talladega AL residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry 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 school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy tech school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. 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 alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Talladega Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where helping people with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician colleges include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to choose a school 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 make use of our other tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the appropriate education and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Talladega Alabama.