Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Find the Best One Near Helena Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Helena AL, you may be wondering how to select the best program to get your education and training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal 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 tuition and location are critical factors when selecting a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. You may also choose to research several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Helena AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Helena AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in a local Helena pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Helena AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online 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 confirm that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online training may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have determined whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacist tech schools to choose from in the Helena AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Helena residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other factors that you must take into consideration in order to adequately compare schools. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of 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 required in every state, but a number of employers prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech college should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This condition can be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Helena AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial job in Helena AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some assistance. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Helena AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing 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 may have 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 live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist technician program you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Helena AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Helena Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling profession where helping people with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician schools include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online 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 certain to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate education and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Helena Alabama.