Pharmacy Tech School
How to Find the Best One Near Alexander City Alabama
Now it’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Alexander City AL so you can receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. Usually the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. When looking for pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are critical factors when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. You may also choose to look into several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over 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 courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Alexander City AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Alexander City AL employers 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 requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in a local Alexander City pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to receive some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Alexander City AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online programs are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school 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 structured form of education, then online classes might be the ideal solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech programs to select from in the Alexander City AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Alexander City residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are several other variables that you need to consider in order to adequately compare schools. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional 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 screened and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Alexander City AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician school needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This requirement may be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Alexander City AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in Alexander City AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any help. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Alexander City AL home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy technician program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Alexander City AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Alexander City Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to select a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the right training and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Alexander City Alabama.