Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Select the Best One Near Muscle Shoals Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Muscle Shoals AL, you might be wondering how to pick the right program to receive your education and training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Many potential students begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important factors when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. And if you are interested in studying at home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Muscle Shoals AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Muscle Shoals AL pharmacies will only hire a technician 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 at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online school, it's important to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Muscle Shoals pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Muscle Shoals AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college 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 instruction might be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have decided whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Muscle Shoals AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Muscle Shoals home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you need to consider in order to adequately compare schools. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Muscle Shoals AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This qualification may be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled 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 practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Muscle Shoals AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Muscle Shoals AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some support. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Muscle Shoals AL residence. Those who have opted 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. 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching 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 final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Muscle Shoals AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Muscle Shoals Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the ideal pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where helping people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech programs incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to select a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate training and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Muscle Shoals Alabama.