Pharmacy Tech School
How to Choose the Right One Near Decatur Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Decatur AL so you can receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? Many future students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant factors when selecting a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. And if you are interested in studying in your home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Decatur AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Decatur AL employers will only hire a technician 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, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online program, it's important to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Decatur pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Decatur AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as 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 might be the right solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician schools to pick from in the Decatur AL area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Decatur residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are several other factors that you need to consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it might assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Decatur AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of employers prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This condition can be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be satisfied with an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Decatur AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial job in Decatur AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any help. 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 school has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Decatur AL home. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Decatur AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Learn More about How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Decatur
Choose the Right Decatur 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 objective. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech schools include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the proper training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Decatur Alabama.
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