Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Choose the Right One Near Pelham Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Pelham AL so you can get the right training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? When looking for pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students start by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are important factors when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation must be evaluated as well. You may also want to look into several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need 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 wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Pelham AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Pelham AL employers will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer 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 finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Schools
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online school, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in an area Pelham pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Pelham AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online classes might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist technician schools to choose from in the Pelham AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Pelham home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are several other variables that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare schools. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and trade 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 screened and verified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may also receive 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 together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Pelham AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech school should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This qualification can be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Pelham AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in Pelham AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some help. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Pelham AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Pelham AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Pelham Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician schools incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to choose a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the right education and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Pelham Alabama.