Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Choose the Right One Near Hoover Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Hoover AL, you might be wondering how to choose the right program to receive your education and training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? When checking out pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are significant concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. You may also want to take a look at some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will go over 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 degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
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 2 options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Hoover AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Hoover AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that has earned certification. 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, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Colleges Online
Before selecting a pharmacy tech online college, it's important to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Hoover pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to acquire some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Hoover AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged 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 training may be the ideal solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have determined whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist tech programs to pick from in the Hoover AL area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Hoover residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you must take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Hoover 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 many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech college should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This qualification can be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Hoover AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Hoover AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some help. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Hoover AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Hoover AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Hoover Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where helping people with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, 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. The majority of pharmacist technician schools include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to enroll in a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the proper training and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Hoover Alabama.