Pharmacy Tech College
How to Pick the Best One Near Albertville Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Albertville AL, you might be pondering how to choose the ideal college to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. A number of future students start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant concerns when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation must be evaluated as well. And if you prefer studying at 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 address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 alternatives to becoming a tech 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 accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Albertville AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Albertville AL employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Prior to choosing a pharmacy tech online college, it's important to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in a local Albertville pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to acquire some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Albertville AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online classes may be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have determined whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist tech programs to select from in the Albertville AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Albertville residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are several other variables that you must take into consideration in order to adequately compare programs. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacist technician programs and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded 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 complete quality education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it might assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Albertville AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This condition can be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Albertville AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in Albertville AL after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging task without some assistance. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Albertville AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy technician program you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Albertville AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Albertville Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the right pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician schools incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to enroll in 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. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate training and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Albertville Alabama.