Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Pick the Right One Near Homewood Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Homewood AL, you might be thinking about just how to select the best school to get your education and training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical concerns when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. You may also decide to take a look at a few accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, 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
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Homewood AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Homewood AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Schools
Prior to selecting a pharmacist tech online college, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Homewood pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Homewood AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, especially for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are considering 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 structured form of education, then online instruction might be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have determined whether you would like to obtain 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 a large number of pharmacy tech colleges to choose from in the Homewood AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Homewood home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are many other variables that you should consider so that you may properly compare schools. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have obtained 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 screened and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it might assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Homewood AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician college should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This requirement may be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech 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 an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Homewood AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Homewood AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Homewood AL residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online 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 program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? 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 probably want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Homewood AL area, make sure 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 need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Find Out More on How to Become a Pharmacy Tech in Homewood
Enroll in the Right Homewood Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician programs include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the appropriate training and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Homewood Alabama.
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