Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Pick the Best One Near Oxford Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Oxford AL so you can get the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? When looking for pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students start by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important factors 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 by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will want 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 courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Oxford AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Oxford AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two 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, 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 exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy tech online training program, it's important to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Oxford pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Oxford AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have decided whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician colleges to pick from in the Oxford AL area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Oxford residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other issues that you need to consider in order to properly compare programs. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among 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 verified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you get a quality education, it might help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Oxford AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician school should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This requirement may be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Oxford AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that initial job in Oxford AL upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging task without any support. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Oxford AL residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Oxford AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Oxford Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the right pharmacy tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the right training and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Oxford Alabama.