Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Princeton Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Princeton AL so you can get the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. Of course the initial step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. When checking out pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are important factors when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Princeton AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the proper amount 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 numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs opt to get certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Princeton AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Classes Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacist technician online training program, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in a local Princeton pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Princeton AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm 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 disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online classes might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have determined whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy tech schools to select from in the Princeton AL area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Princeton home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other issues that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a complete superior education. Online programs may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, it might help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Princeton 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 mandated in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech college should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This condition may be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Princeton AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that first position in Princeton AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging task without some assistance. Find out 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 a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Princeton AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Princeton AL area, verify 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 have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Princeton Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the right pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where helping people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech programs include 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 holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the right education and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Princeton Alabama.