Pharmacy Tech College
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Prattville Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Prattville AL, you may be wondering 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 subsequently pick the best one? When looking for pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are critical concerns when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. You might also choose to take a look at several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Prattville AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Prattville AL employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Classes Online
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online school, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in a local Prattville pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to receive some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Prattville AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have determined whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech programs to pick from in the Prattville AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Prattville residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other factors that you should take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it can assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Prattville AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of employers prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This condition may be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Prattville AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Prattville AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult task without some support. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Prattville AL residence. Those who have chosen 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 importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps 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 generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Prattville AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Find Out More about Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in Prattville
Choose the Right Prattville Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician programs include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true 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 certain to make the best choice. With the proper training and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Prattville Alabama.
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