Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Find the Right One Near Selma Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Selma AL, you might be wondering just how to choose the ideal program to receive your education and training. Of course the first step is to locate colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. When looking for pharmacy technician programs, many potential 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 picking a school, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 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 normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Selma AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools opt to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Selma AL employers 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 requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed 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 examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacist technician online training program, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in an area Selma pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed over the internet in your Selma AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech programs to pick from in the Selma AL area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Selma residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are many other issues that you need to consider so that you may adequately compare programs. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Make sure to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Selma AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of employers desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This requirement can be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on 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 a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Selma AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Selma AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without some help. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Selma AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble 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 school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Selma AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Selma Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the right pharmacy tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where helping people with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to select a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the right education and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Selma Alabama.