Pharmacy Tech School
How to Select the Right One Near Hoover Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Hoover AL, you may be thinking about how to select the best school to receive your education and training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? When checking out pharmacy technician schools, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are significant factors when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. You might also decide to look into some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifications and others that you will want 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 Technician Degree Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Hoover AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs opt to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Hoover AL pharmacies will only hire a tech 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 applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy technician online training program, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in a local Hoover pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to acquire some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Hoover AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example 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 best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have determined whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech programs to select from in the Hoover AL area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Hoover residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other variables that you need to consider so that you may properly compare programs. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you get a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Hoover AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many employers desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This qualification can be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Hoover AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Hoover AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without any support. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Hoover AL home. Students who have decided 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 importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back 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 schools you are reviewing what the average 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 an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist technician program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Hoover AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours 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.
Choose the Best Hoover Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the best pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where helping people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician programs incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the right training and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Hoover Alabama.