Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Pick the Best One Near Hartselle Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Hartselle AL, you may be wondering just how to choose the right school to receive your education and training. Of course the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of prospective students start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important factors when picking a school, 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. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. 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 degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Hartselle AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Hartselle 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 applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional 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 can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy tech online college, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in an area Hartselle pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Hartselle AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the ideal solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have decided whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician programs to choose from in the Hartselle AL area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Hartselle home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are several other issues that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare programs. 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 respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Hartselle AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many employers desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This requirement 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 can be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Hartselle AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that initial position in Hartselle AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some support. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Hartselle AL home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern 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 program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Hartselle AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Hartselle Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the proper training and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Hartselle Alabama.