How to Choose the Right Pharmacist Technician Training Program Near Birmingham Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near BirminghamAL, you may be pondering just how to select the best program to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. A number of future students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important factors when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be evaluated as well. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's review the certificate and degree options available.
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Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
The fastest route to becoming a pharmacy technician is through a certificate or diploma program. These take around two semesters, or one year to complete. Some states will require you to pass a certification exam after your program. Pharmacy technician associate’s degree programs provide a greater depth of study in the pharmaceutical sciences and in management and customer service, as well as general education classes. Associate’s degree programs take approximately two years to complete. Prospective pharmacy technicians who are considering an undergraduate degree in the future may want to go with an associates’ degree, as many of their credits can be applied to a future degree. Those who graduate from an associate’s degree program may find themselves in greater demand or eligible for more generous compensation. Often, degree holders are better positioned for advancement. The choice between these two paths will depend on your goals and the amount of money you have available to invest in your education, but it is important to select a program that is accredited.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy technician schools to choose from in the Birmingham AL area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Birmingham residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other issues that you should take into consideration so that you may adequately compare colleges. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete quality education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it might help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Birmingham AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician school needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This qualification can be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Birmingham Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Birmingham AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without some help. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Birmingham AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes enable 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 prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy tech school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Birmingham AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Birmingham Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their health is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician programs incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the right training and commitment you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in Birmingham Alabama.