Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Auburn Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Auburn AL so you can receive the right training to build a career in the rewarding field of medicine. Naturally the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many prospective students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical concerns when deciding on 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 cost and location. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, 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 wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction 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 Auburn AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Auburn AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Prior to selecting a pharmacy tech online college, it's important to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted 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 opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Auburn AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often less expensive than traditional 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 offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program 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 formal type of education, then online classes might be the ideal solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have determined whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician schools to select from in the Auburn AL area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Auburn home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are many other issues that you need to consider in order to properly compare programs. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a complete quality education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it might help in securing 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 Auburn AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of employers prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician school needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This requirement may be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Auburn AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Auburn AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some assistance. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Auburn AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Auburn AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses 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 illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Auburn Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician programs incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to select a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies 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 compare colleges so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the right education and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Auburn Alabama.