Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Find the Right One Near Phenix City Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Phenix City AL, you might be wondering just how to pick the best school to get your education and training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Many potential students start by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be evaluated as well. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that 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 vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Phenix City AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed 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 necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Phenix City AL employers will only employ a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed 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 exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online college, it's important to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Phenix City pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your Phenix City AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, especially for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any 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 dedicated 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 Schools
After you have decided whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician colleges to select from in the Phenix City AL area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Phenix City home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other variables that you must take into consideration in order to properly compare schools. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Phenix City AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech school should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate 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 Phenix City AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Phenix City AL after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without some assistance. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Phenix City AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Phenix City AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Phenix City Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where helping people with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech schools include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to select a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the right training and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Phenix City Alabama.