How to Find the Best Pharmacy Technician School Near Birmingham Alabama
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near BirminghamAL, you might be thinking about just how to pick the right college to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. Many future students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical concerns when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be evaluated as well. And if you prefer attending classes 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 cover these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's review the certificate and degree options available.
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Pharmacy Technician Certificates 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.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Courses
After you have decided whether you want to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician colleges to choose from in the Birmingham AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Birmingham residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you must consider so that you may adequately compare colleges. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacist Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Birmingham AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech program should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This condition may be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Birmingham Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Birmingham AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting task without some help. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Birmingham AL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Birmingham AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check 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 because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Birmingham Pharmacy Technician Course
Getting the best pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician colleges include both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the right training and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Birmingham Alabama.