Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Find the Right One Near Florence Alabama
Now it’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Florence AL so you can receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding field of medicine. Naturally the initial step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. When looking for pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are critical factors when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over 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 diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 alternatives to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Florence AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to get certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Florence AL employers 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 requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacist technician online program, it's important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Florence pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to obtain some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Florence AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online classes may be the ideal solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have decided whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist technician colleges to select from in the Florence AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Florence residence. If you are able to relocate 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 factors that you should consider so that you may adequately compare schools. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Florence AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech program needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This condition may be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Florence AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial job in Florence AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any assistance. Ask if the schools 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 college has a good reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Florence AL residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps 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 commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way 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 reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy tech college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Florence AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Florence Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where helping people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs 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 technicians. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes 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 certain to make the ideal selection. With the right training and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Florence Alabama.