Pharmacy Tech School
How to Choose the Right One Near Alabaster Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Alabaster AL, you might be wondering just how to select the ideal school to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. When looking for pharmacy technician schools, many potential students begin by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are significant factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. You might also decide to look into some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. 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 take a look at the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Alabaster AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Alabaster 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 18 years or older, 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 a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Colleges Online
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online college, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Alabaster pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to get some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Alabaster AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance 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 choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have determined whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are many pharmacist technician schools to choose from in the Alabaster AL area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Alabaster home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other variables that you need to take into consideration so that you may properly compare schools. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also 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 select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it might help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Alabaster AL pharmacies 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 all states, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech college should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This requirement can be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied with 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 prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Alabaster AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Alabaster AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any help. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Alabaster AL home. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Alabaster AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Alabaster Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the right pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where helping people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way 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 technician colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to select a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the proper education and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Alabaster Alabama.