Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Select the Best One Near Auburn Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Auburn AL, you might be pondering just how to select the ideal college to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. When looking for pharmacy technician programs, many potential students begin by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important factors when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation must be considered also. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 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 typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Auburn AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Auburn AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist tech online program, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Auburn pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to get some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Auburn AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example 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 might be the right solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have determined whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician schools to select from in the Auburn AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Auburn home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other factors that you need to consider so that you may properly compare programs. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have acquired 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 evaluated and certified to furnish a complete quality education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many Auburn AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician college should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This qualification may be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get 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 fulfill the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Auburn AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in Auburn AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging task without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Auburn AL residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble 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 even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually 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 rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy tech college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Auburn AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Learn More about Becoming a Pharmacy Tech in Auburn
Choose the Best Auburn Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where helping customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech programs incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to select a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the right education and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Auburn Alabama.
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