Pharmacy Tech College
How to Choose the Right One Near Dothan Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Dothan AL, you may be wondering how to select the best college to receive your education and training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? When looking for pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are important factors when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. You might also decide to look into some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will want 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 Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to becoming 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 typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Dothan AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools opt to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Dothan AL employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed 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 examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacist technician online school, it's important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Dothan pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Dothan AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online schools are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have determined whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacy tech colleges to choose from in the Dothan AL area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Dothan home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other issues that you must take into consideration in order to properly compare schools. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have earned 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 verified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it might assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training 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 College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician school needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This qualification may be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire 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 in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Dothan AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Dothan AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting task without some support. Ask 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 indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Dothan AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes 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 choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps 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 frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy tech school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Dothan AL area, verify 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 enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Dothan Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the right pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician programs incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the right training and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Dothan Alabama.