Pharmacy Tech College
How to Select the Best One Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Drexel Heights AZ, you might be thinking about just how to choose the right school to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. When checking out pharmacy technician schools, many potential students start by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are critical concerns when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in studying in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will address 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 advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two alternatives to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Drexel Heights AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Drexel Heights AZ employers will only employ a technician that is certified. There are two 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, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Schools
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online program, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in a local Drexel Heights pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed over the internet in your Drexel Heights AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online training may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have determined whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacist technician schools to choose from in the Drexel Heights AZ area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Drexel Heights residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are many other issues that you should take into consideration in order to adequately compare programs. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Drexel Heights AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Drexel Heights AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Drexel Heights AZ upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Drexel Heights AZ home. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern 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 choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy tech school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Drexel Heights AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Drexel Heights Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech schools include both classroom and clinical training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the appropriate education and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Drexel Heights Arizona.