Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Pick the Right One Near Alabaster Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Alabaster AL, you may be pondering just how to pick the best program to receive your education and training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? When looking for pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are significant concerns when selecting a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. You may also choose to look into a few accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifications and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 options to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Alabaster AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs opt to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Alabaster AL pharmacies will only employ a tech 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, 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 2 years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist technician online college, it's important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in an area Alabaster pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Alabaster AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the best solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have determined whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician programs to pick from in the Alabaster AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Alabaster residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you need to consider in order to effectively compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected 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 complete quality education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, it might assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Alabaster AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This condition can be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the programs have associations with Alabaster AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Alabaster AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some support. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Alabaster AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student 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 a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Alabaster AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Alabaster Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies 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. Most pharmacist technician programs incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the proper training and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Alabaster Alabama.