Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Enroll In the Best One Near Athens Alabama
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Athens AL so you can receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. Naturally the first step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of future students begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical factors when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. You might also choose to research several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Athens AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Athens AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 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 professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Colleges Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online school, it's important to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in an area Athens pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to get some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Athens AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program 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 supervised form of education, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have decided whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist technician programs to pick from in the Athens AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Athens residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are several other issues that you need to consider in order to adequately compare programs. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Athens 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 every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech program should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the schools have associations with Athens AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first position in Athens AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any help. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Athens AL home. 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 area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist tech school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Athens AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Athens Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying profession where assisting customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech colleges include both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to select a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the proper training and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Athens Alabama.