Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Find the Best One Near Daphne Alabama
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Daphne AL, you may be wondering just how to select the right program to receive your education and training. Of course the initial step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students start by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are critical concerns when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. You might also want to take a look at some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Daphne AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Daphne AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Daphne pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to get some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Daphne AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the best solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have decided whether you wish to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech programs to select from in the Daphne AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community 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 Daphne residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other factors that you need to consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it might assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Daphne AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many employers prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician school needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This qualification may be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Daphne AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Getting that initial position in Daphne AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some help. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Daphne AL home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer 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 students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist tech school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Daphne AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Daphne Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a gratifying profession where helping people with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, 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. Most pharmacy tech programs incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to select a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the appropriate training and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Daphne Alabama.