Pharmacy Tech School
How to Choose the Best One Near Athens Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Athens AL so you can receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students begin by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are significant factors when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated as well. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two options to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Athens AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs choose to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Athens AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two 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 at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Colleges Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area Athens pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to get some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Athens AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician colleges to choose from in the Athens AL area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Athens residence. If you are able 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 factors that you need to consider in order to properly compare programs. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a complete quality education. Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Athens AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech program needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This requirement can be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the programs have associations with Athens AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that initial job in Athens AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some assistance. Ask 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 school has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Athens AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy tech school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Athens AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Athens Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech programs include both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the right training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Athens Alabama.