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Pharmacy Technician Schools | Get Your Certificate or Degree – Tuscaloosa AL

How to Enroll In a Pharmacist Tech Course near Tuscaloosa 35401

Tuscaloosa AL pharmacy tech preparing prescriptionHaving made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Tuscaloosa AL, you might be thinking about how to select the best program to get your education and training. Naturally the first step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. A number of future students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical factors when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover 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 degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.

The Job of a Pharmacy Tech

Tuscaloosa AL pharmacy technician dispensing medsPharmacy technicians have many job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Tuscaloosa AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist’s instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily functions a pharmacy technician may carry out are:

  • Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
  • Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
  • Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
  • Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
  • Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory

As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career helping people with their health and wellness.

Pharmacy Tech Degrees

Tuscaloosa AL pharmacy medication supply shelvesStudents desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at {an approved|an accepted Tuscaloosa AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.

Pharmacist Tech Certification Choices

It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Tuscaloosa 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 requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacist Technician Online Schools

woman attending pharmacy tech school online in Tuscaloosa ALBefore choosing a pharmacist technician online school, it’s necessary to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Tuscaloosa pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Tuscaloosa AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online training might be the ideal solution for you.

Questions to Ask Pharmacist Tech Programs

After you have decided whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacy technician schools to choose from in the Tuscaloosa AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Tuscaloosa home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other variables that you should take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.

Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Tuscaloosa AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.

Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This qualification may be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.

Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Tuscaloosa AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.

Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in Tuscaloosa AL after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any support. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Tuscaloosa AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern 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 perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist technician college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Tuscaloosa AL area, confirm 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, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.

Enrolling in a Tuscaloosa AL Pharmacy Tech School?

If you are planning to attend a Pharmacy Technician Certificate or Degree Program in the Tuscaloosa Alabama area, you may find the following background information about the location of your school campus interesting and informative.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Tuscaloosa (/tʌskəˈluːsə/ TUS-kə-LOO-sə) is a city in and the seat of Tuscaloosa County in west central Alabama (in the southeastern United States).[5] Located on the Black Warrior River at the Atlantic Seaboard fall line of the Piedmont, it is the fifth-largest city in Alabama, with an estimated population of 100,287 in 2017.

Incorporated as a town on December 13, 1819, it was named after Tuskaloosa, the chief of a band of Muskogean-speaking people. They battled and were defeated by forces of Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1540 in the Battle of Mabila, thought to have been located in what is now central Alabama.[6] Tuscaloosa served as Alabama's capital city from 1826 to 1846.

Tuscaloosa is the regional center of industry, commerce, healthcare, and education for the area of west-central Alabama known as West Alabama. It is the principal city of the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Tuscaloosa, Hale and Pickens counties. In 2013 its estimated metro population was 235,628. Tuscaloosa is also the home of The University of Alabama, Stillman College and Shelton State Community College. While the city attracted international attention when Mercedes-Benz announced it would build its first automotive assembly plant in North America in Tuscaloosa County, the University of Alabama remains the dominant economic and cultural engine in the city.

Pick the Right Pharmacy Tech College Tuscaloosa AL

Tuscaloosa AL corner drugstoreReceiving the best pharmacist technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacy techs were trained “on the job”. Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech programs include both classroom and clinical work. As we have addressed in this article, it’s important to select a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. And if you follow our additional tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the right training and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Tuscaloosa AL.

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