Pharmacy Tech School
How to Find the Right One Near Florence Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Florence AL so you can receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of potential students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant factors when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. You may also decide to look into some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two alternatives to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Florence AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Florence AL employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed 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 examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Before deciding on a pharmacist tech online college, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Florence pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to receive some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your Florence AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school you are looking at 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 structured form of education, then online classes might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have determined whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer 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 pick from in the Florence AL area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Florence home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other variables that you need to take into consideration so that you may effectively compare programs. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national 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 verified to offer a complete quality education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Don't forget to confirm 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 ensure that you receive a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Florence AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech school needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This condition can be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the schools have associations with Florence AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that first position in Florence AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some help. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Florence AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist technician college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Florence 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 courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Florence Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting people with their health is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician schools include both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to choose a school 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 additional suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the appropriate training and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Florence Alabama.