Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Pick the Best One Near Florence Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Florence AL, you may be wondering just how to pick the right school to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of potential students begin by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant factors when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. You may also want to research some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when reviewing 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 Tech Degrees and Certificates
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 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 typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted 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 offer a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online training program, it's important to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in a local Florence pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to receive some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Florence AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, especially for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacy tech programs to choose from in the Florence AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Florence residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are several other variables that you should take into consideration in order to properly compare colleges. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs 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 verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Florence AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many employers desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This qualification may be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain 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 programs have a working relationship with Florence AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in Florence AL after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without any support. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Florence AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes 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 bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to 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 far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy technician school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Florence AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Florence Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to select a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the proper education and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Florence Alabama.