Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Choose the Right One Near Decatur Alabama
Now it’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Decatur AL so you can receive the right training to build a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? When looking for pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students start by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are important concerns when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. You may also choose to look into several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifiers 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 advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Decatur AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Decatur AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online school, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in a local Decatur pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Decatur AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
Once you have decided whether you want to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy technician programs to select from in the Decatur AL area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Decatur residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are several other factors that you must consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have acquired 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 evaluated and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Decatur AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many employers desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician school needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This condition may be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with Decatur AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Decatur AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging task without any help. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Decatur AL residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching 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 final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist technician school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Decatur AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find Out More about Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in Decatur
Choose the Right Decatur Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician programs include both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the right training and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Decatur Alabama.
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