Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Select the Right One Near Troy Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Troy AL so you can get the proper training to build a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? When looking for pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important factors when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. And if you are interested in studying in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Troy AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs opt to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Troy AL pharmacies will only employ a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer 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 finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacist tech online school, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in an area Troy pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Troy AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, 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 training might be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have determined whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Troy AL area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Troy residence. 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 a number of other issues that you need to take into consideration so that you may properly compare colleges. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many Troy AL pharmacies 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 required in all states, but many employers desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician program needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This requirement can be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Troy AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial job in Troy AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any assistance. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Troy AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep 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 may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average 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 decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak 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 tech college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Troy AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Troy Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician programs incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the appropriate education and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Troy Alabama.