How to Pick the Right Pharmacist Technician School Near Athens Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near AthensAL, you might be pondering just how to pick the right program to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. A number of future students start by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's review the certificate and degree options available.
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Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
A pharmacy technician diploma or certificate program can be completed in one year or less and provides the basic education and training needed to sit for the Certified Pharmacy Technician exam. These programs introduce students to basic concepts in pharmaceutical technology, record keeping, pharmacy law and ethics, and pharmacology. They typically include a combination of classroom learning and lab training so that students learn how to dispense medication, prepare sterile products, and manage prescription orders. Students interested in a more comprehensive educational experience can enroll in a pharmacy technician associate degree program. Although a degree is not required to apply for entry-level positions, some students choose to pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree so they can advance in their careers and apply for jobs as a compounding lab technician, pharmacy service technician, pharmacy implementation specialist or similar roles. Earning an associate degree can also help a student prepare for a Bachelor of Pharmacy or a bachelor’s degree in a related field.
What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Schools
Once you have decided whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist tech programs to pick from in the Athens AL area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Athens residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are several other factors that you should consider so that you may adequately compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have obtained 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 evaluated and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Athens 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 required in every state, but numerous employers desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician program should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician 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 a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Athens Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that initial position in Athens AL upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any support. Find out 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 indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Athens AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. 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 often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Athens AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Athens Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the right pharmacy tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to enroll in a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the proper training and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Athens Alabama.