Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Select the Best One Near Athens Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Athens AL, you might be thinking about how to choose the best school to get your education and training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of potential students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. You might also want to research a few accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will want 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 benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Athens AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes 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. Each program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Before selecting a pharmacy tech online college, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Athens pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech so as to receive some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your Athens AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are considering 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 training may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you want to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy tech schools to select from in the Athens AL area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed 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 home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are several other issues that you need to consider so that you may properly compare schools. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it might help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many Athens AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many employers desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician program should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech 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 an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Athens AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in Athens AL upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Athens AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have 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.
What Size 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 smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy tech school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Athens AL area, verify 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 have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Athens Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech programs incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in 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 compare programs so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the right education and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Athens Alabama.