How to Choose the Right Pharmacist Tech School Near Birmingham Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near BirminghamAL, you may be thinking about just how to select the right college to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. A number of prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant factors when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and some 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.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Technician Degree and Certificate Programs
Although going by different names, a certificate and a diploma offer a comparable level of education. These programs, which often take four months-to-a-year to complete, are focused exclusively on pharmacy tech classes. Students learn about pharmacology and pharmacy calculations while also taking part in lab simulations. A certificate or diploma is best for those who want to become pharmacy technicians quickly and don’t expect to pursue further education in the near future. An associate degree may take up to two years to complete and typically has a curriculum that combines general education requirements with pharmacy tech classes. Core courses may cover topics such as pharmacology, dosage calculations, chemistry and health care ethics. Some employers, such as institutional pharmacies, may prefer to hire technicians with a higher level of education. Credits from an associate degree may transfer to four-year schools and be applied toward a bachelor’s degree.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you wish to earn 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 pharmacy tech colleges to pick from in the Birmingham AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Birmingham residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are several other variables that you must consider so that you may adequately compare schools. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a complete quality education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it might assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Birmingham AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous employers desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician school should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This qualification can be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which may be met 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 prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Birmingham Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial job in Birmingham AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some help. Ask if the colleges you are considering 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 a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Birmingham AL residence. Individuals who have decided 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 concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher 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 a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Birmingham AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Birmingham Pharmacy Technician Course
Getting the right pharmacy tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician schools incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the proper education and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Birmingham Alabama.