Pharmacy Tech School
How to Find the Right One Near Bessemer Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Bessemer AL so you can get the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? When checking out pharmacy technician schools, many potential students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are important concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will need 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 advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Bessemer AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools opt to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Bessemer AL employers will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Colleges Online
Before selecting a pharmacy technician online school, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Bessemer pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Bessemer AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as 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 may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
Once you have determined whether you would like to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacy technician colleges to pick from in the Bessemer AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Bessemer home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other factors that you must take into consideration so that you may effectively compare colleges. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected 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 comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it might help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Bessemer AL pharmacies 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 desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician school should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician 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 a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Bessemer AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Finding that first job in Bessemer AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Bessemer AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Bessemer 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 have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Bessemer Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their health is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech schools incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to enroll in a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the right education and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Bessemer Alabama.