How to Select the Right Pharmacist Tech College Near Birmingham Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near BirminghamAL, you might be thinking about just how to choose the best school to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. Many potential students start by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the diploma and degree options available.
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Pharmacy Tech Degree and Certificate Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer 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 accepted Birmingham AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Technician Programs
After you have determined whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacist tech colleges to select from in the Birmingham AL area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Birmingham home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are several other issues that you should consider in order to properly compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it may help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Birmingham AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician school should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through 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 degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Birmingham Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that initial job in Birmingham AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some help. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, 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 field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Birmingham AL home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing 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 normally 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 are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night 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 have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Birmingham Pharmacy Technician School
Receiving the right pharmacy tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech colleges include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the proper training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Birmingham Alabama.