Pharmacy Tech School
How to Enroll In the Best One Near Athens Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Athens AL in order to receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. Naturally the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. Many prospective students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous 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 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Athens AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online college, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Athens pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Athens AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, especially for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program 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 formal type of education, then online training might be the ideal solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have decided whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are many pharmacy technician programs to pick from in the Athens AL area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Athens residence. 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 a number of other variables that you should take into consideration so that you may adequately compare schools. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it may help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Athens AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous employers desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech program needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This condition may be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Athens AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Athens AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some assistance. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Athens AL residence. Individuals who have opted 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 bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering 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 a chance to talk 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 pharmacist technician college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Athens AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Athens Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping customers with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech programs incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to select a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the right training and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Athens Alabama.