Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Alabaster Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Alabaster AL so you can receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of potential students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant factors when choosing 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 may also decide to research a few accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 alternatives to becoming a tech whether 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 offer an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Alabaster AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs opt to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Alabaster AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Prior to choosing a pharmacy tech online college, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Alabaster pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to receive some work place 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 accommodating for most students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example 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 right choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have determined whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech colleges to choose from in the Alabaster AL area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical 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 Alabaster home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you must take into consideration in order to effectively compare programs. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Alabaster AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This qualification may be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer 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 tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Alabaster AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial position in Alabaster AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some support. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Alabaster AL residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes 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 bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Alabaster AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Alabaster Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician schools incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the proper training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Alabaster Alabama.