Pharmacy Tech College
How to Pick the Right One Near Jacksonville Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Jacksonville AL, you might be wondering how to pick the right school to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. When checking out pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are critical concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. You may also choose to take a look at a few accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will cover 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 classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Jacksonville AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Jacksonville AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Colleges
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online college, it's important to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Jacksonville pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Jacksonville AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, especially for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often more affordable than classroom 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 provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have determined whether you would like 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 options. There are numerous pharmacy tech programs to select from in the Jacksonville AL area and throughout the Country, so you must 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 first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Jacksonville home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are many other issues that you should take into consideration in order to properly compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a complete superior education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Jacksonville AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This requirement may be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Jacksonville AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Jacksonville AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any help. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Jacksonville AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Jacksonville AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Jacksonville Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech schools incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to select a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the right education and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Jacksonville Alabama.