Pharmacy Tech School
How to Enroll In the Best One Near Jacksonville Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Jacksonville AL, you may be pondering how to pick the ideal program to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. A number of prospective students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical concerns when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. You may also choose to research several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifiers and some 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 classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Jacksonville AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs choose to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Jacksonville AL employers will only employ a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that offer 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 only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online program, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in an area Jacksonville pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to get some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Jacksonville AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the best solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have decided whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Jacksonville AL area and throughout the USA, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Jacksonville residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are several other factors that you should take into consideration in order to properly compare colleges. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it might help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Jacksonville 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 all states, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement can be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Jacksonville AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Jacksonville AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging task without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Jacksonville AL home. Students who have chosen 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 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy tech college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Jacksonville AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Jacksonville Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the right pharmacy tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. 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 classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the proper training and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Jacksonville Alabama.