Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Choose the Right One Near East Florence Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near East Florence AL in order to receive the right training to build a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? When looking for pharmacy technician programs, many potential students start by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are significant concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and 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 courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved East Florence AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually requires 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. Either program can furnish 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 every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many East Florence 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 requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Before selecting a pharmacist technician online training 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 commonly fulfilled in an area East Florence pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to get some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your East Florence AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school 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 formal type of education, then online classes may be the right solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have decided whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy tech schools to select from in the East Florence AL area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your East Florence home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other variables that you must consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many East Florence AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This condition can be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with East Florence AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Securing that initial job in East Florence AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some assistance. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their East Florence AL residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical 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 technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist tech college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the East Florence AL area, make sure 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 because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right East Florence Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech colleges include both classroom and clinical work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to select a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the right training and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in East Florence Alabama.