Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Tuscaloosa Alabama
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Tuscaloosa AL so you can receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many future students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important factors when picking a college, 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. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Tuscaloosa AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many Tuscaloosa AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy tech online college, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Tuscaloosa pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech so as to get some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Tuscaloosa AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the best choice for you.
What 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 school or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy tech schools to select from in the Tuscaloosa 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 discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Tuscaloosa 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 should take into consideration in order to effectively compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program together with the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it might help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Tuscaloosa AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician program needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This condition can be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Tuscaloosa AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial job in Tuscaloosa AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some assistance. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If so, find out 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 demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Tuscaloosa AL home. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry 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 school that is out of state or even 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 generally charge a higher tuition to 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 far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak 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 need to confirm that the pharmacy tech college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Tuscaloosa AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Tuscaloosa Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where helping customers with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to choose a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the proper training and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Tuscaloosa Alabama.