Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Choose the Right One Near Helena Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Helena AL, you may be wondering just how to choose the ideal school to get your education and training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? A number of potential students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. You might also decide to take a look at some accredited online pharmacy tech 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 degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options 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 normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Helena AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs opt to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Helena AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Schools
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online training program, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Helena pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to get some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Helena AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have determined whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy technician schools to choose from in the Helena AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Helena home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are several other variables that you need to consider in order to properly compare programs. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you get a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Helena AL pharmacies 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 pharmacist technician college should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This condition may be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the schools have associations with Helena AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Helena AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some assistance. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Helena AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Helena AL area, verify that they are available. 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 carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Helena Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the right pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed 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 as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate training and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Helena Alabama.