Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Enroll In the Best One Near Prattville Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Prattville AL, you may be pondering how to choose the best college to get your education and training. Naturally the first step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. Many prospective students begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical factors when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. You may also decide to look into several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifiers 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 certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Prattville AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Prattville AL employers will only hire a tech 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 applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in an area Prattville pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Prattville AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example 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 option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have decided whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Prattville AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Prattville home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are many 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 selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it might 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 earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of employers desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This condition may be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the schools have associations with Prattville AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Prattville AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any assistance. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Prattville AL residence. Students 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 importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have 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 live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing 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 opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy tech college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Prattville AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Prattville Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the right training and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Prattville Alabama.