Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Select the Best One Near Mobile Alabama
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Mobile AL, you may be thinking about how to pick the right program to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students start by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are significant factors when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. You might also decide to take a look at some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 alternatives 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 typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Mobile AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Mobile AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy tech online program, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Mobile pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to obtain some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Mobile AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have decided whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician schools to choose from in the Mobile AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Mobile 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 several other variables that you should consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? The majority of 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). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it might assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Mobile AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Mobile AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Finding that initial job in Mobile AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any help. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Mobile AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Mobile AL area, check that they are available. 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 need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Mobile Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate education and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Mobile Alabama.