Pharmacy Tech College
How to Find the Right One Near Homewood Alabama
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Homewood AL so you can receive the right training to build a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? When looking for pharmacy technician programs, many potential students start by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are critical concerns when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be evaluated also. And if you are interested in studying in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
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 essentially two options to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Homewood AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed 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 can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many Homewood AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that is certified. 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 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 exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Prior to choosing a pharmacy tech online college, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area Homewood pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to get some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Homewood AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the best solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have determined whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist tech colleges to select from in the Homewood AL area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Homewood home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other factors that you should consider so that you may effectively compare schools. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected 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 schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Homewood 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 techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician program should 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 can be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Homewood AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first position in Homewood AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some help. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Homewood AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally 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 choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Homewood AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify 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 may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Learn More about How to Become a Pharmacy Tech in Homewood
Choose the Best Homewood Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the right pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician schools incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the right training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Homewood Alabama.
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