Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Northport Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Northport AL in order to get the right training to begin a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students start by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are significant factors when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. You might also decide to research several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. 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 benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Northport AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the necessary 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 many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Northport AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy tech online school, it's important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Northport pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Northport AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials can be decreased 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 obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have determined whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacist tech programs to choose from in the Northport AL area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Northport residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are several other variables that you need to take into consideration so that you may properly compare programs. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Northport AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This qualification may be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with Northport AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Northport AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any help. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Northport AL home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Northport AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Northport Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech schools incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to choose a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the appropriate education and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Northport Alabama.