Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Saraland Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Saraland AL so you can get the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of future students start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important factors when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. You might also choose to research some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Saraland AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about two years of studies. Although not needed 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. Either program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Saraland 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 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed 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 required every 2 years by both programs, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Before selecting a pharmacy tech online school, it's important to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Saraland pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Saraland AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online school you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 Schools
Once you have decided whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy technician schools to choose from in the Saraland AL area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Saraland residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other issues that you need to consider so that you may adequately compare programs. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a complete quality education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Saraland AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech school should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This requirement may be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways 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 practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Saraland AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first position in Saraland AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some assistance. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement 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 generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Saraland AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly 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 student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist technician school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Saraland AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Saraland Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting people with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician schools include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and 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 best selection. With the proper training and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Saraland Alabama.