How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacy Tech Program Near Birmingham Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near BirminghamAL, you might be wondering how to pick the right program to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. A number of potential students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant concerns when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. And if you prefer attending classes at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college 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 to begin with, let's review the certificate and degree options available.
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Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Birmingham AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have decided whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist tech colleges to select from in the Birmingham AL area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Birmingham home. 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 issues that you need to consider so that you may adequately compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Birmingham AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of employers prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician school should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This condition may be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Birmingham Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial job in Birmingham AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without any help. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Birmingham AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide 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 researching what the typical teacher to student 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 an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important 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 alternative 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 may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Birmingham Pharmacy Technician Course
Getting the right pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where helping people with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech schools incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for online classes 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 sure to make the ideal selection. With the proper training and determination you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Birmingham Alabama.