How to Choose the Right Pharmacy Technician Program Near Birmingham Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near BirminghamAL, you may be wondering just how to pick the right school to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. Many future students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant concerns when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be evaluated also. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's review the diploma and degree options available.
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Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
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.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have determined whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy tech colleges to select from in the Birmingham AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Birmingham residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you need to take into consideration so that you may properly compare programs. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacy technician colleges 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). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a complete quality education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it might help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Birmingham AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of employers prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician school should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This condition can be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work 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 fulfill the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Birmingham Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Birmingham AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any help. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Birmingham AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern 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 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 usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Birmingham AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Right Birmingham Pharmacy Tech Course
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech schools incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to select a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the proper education and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Birmingham Alabama.