Pharmacy Tech School
How to Enroll In the Best One Near Anniston Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Anniston AL, you might be pondering how to pick the right college to get your education and training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of potential students begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important factors when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to training to be 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 present an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Anniston AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option 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 extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Anniston AL employers will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 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, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy tech online school, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in an area Anniston pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to get some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Anniston AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, especially for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the ideal solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have decided whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy tech colleges to select from in the Anniston AL area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Anniston residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you should take into consideration so that you may adequately compare programs. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Make sure to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you get a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Anniston AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with Anniston AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that first job in Anniston AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some help. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Anniston AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average 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 decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist tech program you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Anniston AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Anniston Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their health is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician programs incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to select 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 additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the right training and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Anniston Alabama.