Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Select the Right One Near Fairhope Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Fairhope AL in order to receive the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. Of course the first step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. Many future students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant factors when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. You might also choose to research several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Fairhope AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Fairhope AL pharmacies will only employ a technician that is certified. There are two 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, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Schools
Prior to selecting a pharmacy technician online school, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Fairhope pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to receive some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Fairhope AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical 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 check that each online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online training might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech schools to pick from in the Fairhope AL area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Fairhope home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other variables that you should take into consideration in order to properly compare colleges. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of 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 verified to provide a complete quality education. Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate 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 Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician school needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This qualification can be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Fairhope AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first position in Fairhope AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some support. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Fairhope AL home. Students 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 importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school 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 often 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 prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist tech college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fairhope AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify 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 due to illness, work or family obligations.
Learn More about How to Become a Pharmacy Tech in Fairhope
Choose the Best Fairhope Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the ideal pharmacy tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech schools incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to choose a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the right education and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Fairhope Alabama.
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