Pharmacy Tech School
How to Choose the Right One Near Gardendale Alabama
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Gardendale AL in order to receive the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? When checking out pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are significant factors when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. You may also choose to research some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will need 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 advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two 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 diploma or a certificate, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Gardendale AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Gardendale AL employers will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Colleges
Before choosing a pharmacist tech online program, it's important to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in a local Gardendale pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Gardendale AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any 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 instruction might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have decided whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacy tech colleges to select from in the Gardendale AL area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Gardendale residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are several other variables that you need to consider in order to adequately compare schools. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have obtained a regional or national 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 screened and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it might help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Gardendale AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician school should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This qualification may be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Gardendale AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Gardendale AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some support. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Gardendale AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something 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 may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Gardendale AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Gardendale Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech programs include both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds 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 compare colleges so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the right education and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Gardendale Alabama.