Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Dothan Alabama
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Dothan AL in order to receive the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? A number of potential students begin by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant concerns when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. You might also decide to look into a few accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals 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 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 finished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Dothan AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Dothan AL employers 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 requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional 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 may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Schools
Prior to choosing a pharmacist technician online school, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Dothan pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often 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 may be accessed online in your Dothan AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have decided whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy tech schools to pick from in the Dothan AL area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Dothan residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are several other issues that you should consider so that you may effectively compare schools. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it might help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Dothan AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech program should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which may be satisfied with an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the programs have associations with Dothan AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial job in Dothan AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without any assistance. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Dothan AL home. Those who have chosen 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. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Dothan AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, 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 might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Dothan Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the right pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician colleges include both clinical and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to enroll in a school 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 additional suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the appropriate education and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Dothan Alabama.