Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Select the Best One Near Huntsville Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Huntsville AL, you may be wondering just how to pick the ideal school to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. When looking for pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are significant factors when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. You might also want to take a look at some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will cover 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 diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Many 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 furnish a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Huntsville AL employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online college, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in a local Huntsville pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Huntsville AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the best solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have decided whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech programs to pick from in the Huntsville AL area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Huntsville residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are many other issues that you must consider in order to adequately compare schools. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Huntsville AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician program should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech 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 School Give Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in Huntsville AL upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some support. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Huntsville AL home. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist technician school you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Huntsville AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Huntsville Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech schools incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to choose a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the proper training and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Huntsville Alabama.