Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Select the Best One Near Opelika Alabama
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Opelika AL in order to receive the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? When checking out pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students start by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are critical concerns when selecting a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, 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 program 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 attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Opelika AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Opelika AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are 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 a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Before selecting a pharmacist technician online college, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Opelika pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to receive some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Opelika AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online program you are considering 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 supervised form of education, then online training might be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have decided whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want 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 tech programs to select from in the Opelika AL area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Opelika residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other issues that you need to take into consideration so that you may properly compare programs. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Opelika AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician school needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This requirement can be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Opelika AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Opelika AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult task without some support. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Opelika AL residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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 are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy technician program you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Opelika AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Opelika Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician schools include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to select a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the appropriate training and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Opelika Alabama.