Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Select the Right One Near Fairhope Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Fairhope AL, you may be pondering how to choose the right program to get your education and training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many future students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant factors when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over 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 programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Fairhope AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Fairhope AL employers will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Colleges Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacist tech online training program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Fairhope pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to acquire some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your Fairhope AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance 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 might be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have decided whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician schools to choose from in the Fairhope AL area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Fairhope home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are many other variables that you must consider in order to adequately compare programs. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it might help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Fairhope AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many employers desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This condition can be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Ask if the schools have associations with Fairhope AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in Fairhope AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging task without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Fairhope AL residence. Students who have decided 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 concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy technician program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fairhope AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Fairhope Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician schools incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to choose a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate training and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Fairhope Alabama.