Pharmacy Tech School
How to Choose the Best One Near Trussville Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Trussville AL, you might be pondering how to pick the ideal school to get your education and training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right 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 critical concerns when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. You might also decide to research several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifiers and some 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 advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Trussville AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Trussville AL employers will only hire a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Prior to selecting a pharmacy tech online school, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in an area Trussville pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to acquire some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Trussville AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have determined whether you would like to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy technician schools to pick from in the Trussville AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Trussville residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are several other factors that you must consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have earned a national or regional 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 offer a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it might help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many Trussville 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 mandated in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician program should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This qualification can be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the schools have associations with Trussville AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in Trussville AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult task without some assistance. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Trussville AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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 Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Trussville AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Trussville Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech schools include both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to select a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the proper training and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Trussville Alabama.