Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Auburn Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Auburn AL, you might be thinking about how to select the right school to receive your education and training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? A number of future students start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important concerns when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. You may also choose to look into a few accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifiers 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 diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 alternatives to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Auburn AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online college, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in an area Auburn pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to obtain some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Auburn AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance 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 choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have decided whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy tech colleges to pick from in the Auburn AL area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Auburn residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other factors that you should take into consideration in order to adequately compare schools. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Make sure to verify that the degree or certificate program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Auburn AL employers 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 prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician college should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This qualification can be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the schools have associations with Auburn AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial job in Auburn AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any support. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Auburn AL home. Those who have decided 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. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Auburn AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Auburn Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the right pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their health is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech schools include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to select a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the proper education and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Auburn Alabama.