Pharmacy Tech College
How to Pick the Best One Near Muscle Shoals Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Muscle Shoals AL in order to get the right training to build a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? When checking out pharmacy technician schools, many potential students start by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to training to be a tech 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 provide an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Muscle Shoals AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Muscle Shoals AL employers will only employ a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, 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 mandated 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 pharmacist tech online school, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Muscle Shoals pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Muscle Shoals AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school 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 classes may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have determined whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist technician programs to choose from in the Muscle Shoals AL area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Muscle Shoals home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are many other variables that you must take into consideration so that you may properly compare programs. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Be 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 sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of 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 required in all states, but a number of employers prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician school needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This qualification can be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train 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. Find out if the schools have associations with Muscle Shoals AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that first position in Muscle Shoals AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any help. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Muscle Shoals AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Muscle Shoals AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Muscle Shoals Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician schools include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the appropriate education and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Muscle Shoals Alabama.