Pharmacy Tech College
How to Pick the Best One Near Prichard Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Prichard AL so you can receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? Many potential students start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and some 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 benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Prichard AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about two 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 in the future. Either program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Prichard AL pharmacies 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 requirements are that the candidate 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 just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online training program, it's important to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in an area Prichard pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Prichard AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, notably for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive 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 any online program you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example 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 might be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy technician schools to pick from in the Prichard AL area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Prichard home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other issues that you need to consider so that you may properly compare programs. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it might help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Prichard 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 every state, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This condition may be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Prichard AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Prichard AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting task without any support. Find out if the schools you are reviewing 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 profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Prichard AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something 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 often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Prichard AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Prichard Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to select a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the proper training and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Prichard Alabama.