Pharmacy Tech College
How to Select the Best One Near Huntsville Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Huntsville AL, you may be thinking about how to pick the best college to get your education and training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? When checking out pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are significant factors when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. And if you prefer attending classes at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers 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 benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Huntsville AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 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 can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Huntsville AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two 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, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online school, it's important to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Huntsville pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed over the internet in your Huntsville AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example 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 may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician programs to select from in the Huntsville AL area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Huntsville home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other variables that you should take into consideration in order to effectively compare colleges. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Huntsville AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician program should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This condition may be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Huntsville AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Huntsville AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any assistance. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Huntsville AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep 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 may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy tech college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Huntsville AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Huntsville Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this 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. Many pharmacist technician programs incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to choose a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true 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 sure to make the best choice. With the appropriate education and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Huntsville Alabama.