Pharmacy Tech School
How to Find the Best One Near Muscle Shoals Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Muscle Shoals AL, you might be wondering just how to pick the best college to get your education and training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? When looking for pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are critical concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will need 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 advantages of online programs.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Muscle Shoals AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many Muscle Shoals AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires 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 only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Schools
Before selecting a pharmacy tech online college, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Muscle Shoals pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to receive some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Muscle Shoals AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have decided whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are many pharmacy technician colleges to pick from in the Muscle Shoals AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Muscle Shoals home. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are several other factors that you need to 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 Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Make sure to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Muscle Shoals AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician program should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This qualification can be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Muscle Shoals AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that initial position in Muscle Shoals AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some support. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Muscle Shoals AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size 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 likely want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for 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 monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy tech college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Muscle Shoals AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Muscle Shoals Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a fulfilling profession where helping people with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician schools incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the right training and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Muscle Shoals Alabama.