Pharmacy Tech School
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Tuscaloosa Alabama
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Tuscaloosa AL so you can receive the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many potential students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important factors when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. You may also decide to research several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Tuscaloosa AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Tuscaloosa AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires 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 only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacist technician online school, it's important to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in an area Tuscaloosa pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to receive some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Tuscaloosa AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college 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 study with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the best solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have determined whether you want to earn 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 numerous pharmacy tech programs to choose from in the Tuscaloosa AL area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Tuscaloosa residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other factors that you must take into consideration in order to effectively compare programs. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a complete 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 verify that the degree or certificate program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Tuscaloosa AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician college should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Tuscaloosa AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Tuscaloosa AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any help. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Tuscaloosa AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist technician program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Tuscaloosa AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Learn More about How to Become a Pharmacy Tech in Tuscaloosa
Choose the Right Tuscaloosa Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the right pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician schools include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to choose a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the right training and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Tuscaloosa Alabama.
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