Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Select the Right One Near Hueytown Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Hueytown AL so you can receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding field of medicine. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? When looking for pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students start by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are important concerns when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 options to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Hueytown AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires 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 down the road. Each program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Hueytown AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Schools
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist technician online program, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Hueytown pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to acquire some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Hueytown AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online classes might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist technician programs to pick from in the Hueytown AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Hueytown residence. 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 many other factors that you should consider so that you may adequately compare colleges. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete quality education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Make sure to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Hueytown AL employers 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 all states, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This condition can be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech 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 fulfill the requirement. Ask if the schools have associations with Hueytown AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Hueytown AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a challenging task without some help. Find out if the schools you are looking at 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 an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Hueytown AL residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges 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 decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist technician program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Hueytown AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Hueytown Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were trained "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 vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the appropriate training and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Hueytown Alabama.