Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Choose the Right One Near East Florence Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near East Florence AL in order to receive the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. When looking for pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are critical factors when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. You might also choose to research a few accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover 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 benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted East Florence AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools opt to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many East Florence AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, 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 required every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Schools
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area East Florence pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to get some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your East Florence AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, especially for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 instruction may be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have determined whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want 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 pharmacist tech colleges to choose from in the East Florence AL area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your East Florence home. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are many other issues that you need to take into consideration so that you may effectively compare programs. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you get a superior education, it might assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of East Florence AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This condition may be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be met by means of 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 practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with East Florence AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial job in East Florence AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some help. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their East Florence AL residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually 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 probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. 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 speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist technician school you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the East Florence AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best East Florence Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to select a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the proper education and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in East Florence Alabama.