Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Choose the Right One Near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Tuscaloosa AL so you can receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. Of course the initial step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. A number of future students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical factors when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation must be evaluated as well. And if you prefer attending classes in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school 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 attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Tuscaloosa AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Tuscaloosa AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are 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 professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Colleges
Prior to choosing a pharmacist tech online training program, it's important to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Tuscaloosa pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Tuscaloosa AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, notably 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 study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have decided whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician 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 undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Tuscaloosa home. 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 variables that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a complete superior education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Tuscaloosa AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech program needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This qualification may be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled 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 technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Tuscaloosa AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Securing that initial job in Tuscaloosa AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult task without some support. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher 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 sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Tuscaloosa AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher 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 speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately select 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 night or weekend classes in the Tuscaloosa AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Tuscaloosa Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the right pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their health is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech colleges include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a program 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 make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the proper education and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Tuscaloosa Alabama.