How to Choose the Best Pharmacy Tech Training Program Near Prattville Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near PrattvilleAL, you may be wondering just how to choose the right program to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. Many potential students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. And if you prefer studying at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the certificate and degree options available.
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Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Prattville AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Technician Colleges
Once you have determined whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech programs to select from in the Prattville AL area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Prattville home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other factors that you need to consider in order to properly compare programs. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Prattville AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech program needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Prattville Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Prattville AL upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any assistance. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also means 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 decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Prattville AL residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear 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 looking at what the typical teacher to student 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 talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy tech college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Prattville AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Prattville Pharmacy Technician School
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician colleges include both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to choose a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the appropriate education and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Prattville Alabama.