Pharmacy Tech College
How to Select the Best One Near Saraland Alabama
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Saraland AL so you can receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. Of course the first step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. A number of potential students begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. And if you are interested in studying in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two alternatives to training to be 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 provide an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Saraland AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Saraland AL employers will only hire a technician 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 completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Classes
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online training program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Saraland pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to receive 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 alternative is more convenient for many students, notably for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online classes may be the best solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy tech schools to select from in the Saraland AL area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Saraland home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are several other variables that you need to take into consideration in order to effectively compare programs. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a complete quality education. Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it might help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Saraland 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 required in all states, but many pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This qualification may be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Saraland AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that initial job in Saraland AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any support. Ask if the colleges you are researching 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 an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Saraland AL home. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school 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 generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Saraland AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Learn More on How to Become a Pharmacy Tech in Saraland
Enroll in the Right Saraland Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where helping customers with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacy techs were taught "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 technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician schools incorporate both classroom and clinical training. 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 additional tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the right training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Saraland Alabama.
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