Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Find the Right One Near Albertville Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Albertville AL, you might be pondering just how to choose the right college to receive your education and training. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are important factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation should be evaluated as well. You may also choose to research several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will need 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 benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 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 completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Albertville AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about two 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. Either program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Albertville AL employers will only employ 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 at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed 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 exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online training program, it's necessary 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 Albertville pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to obtain some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your Albertville AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online classes may be the best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have decided whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy tech programs to select from in the Albertville 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 undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Albertville residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other variables that you should take into consideration so that you may adequately compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among 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 offer a complete superior education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it might help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Albertville AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist tech program should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This qualification can be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Albertville AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that first job in Albertville AL upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without some assistance. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, 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 signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Albertville AL home. Individuals who have decided 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. One thing to consider 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy tech college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Albertville AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Albertville Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech schools incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to enroll in a college 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 additional tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the proper training and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Albertville Alabama.