How to Pick the Right Pharmacist Technician Course Near Birmingham Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near BirminghamAL, you may be pondering just how to select the best school to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. And if you prefer attending classes at 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 go over these qualifiers and others that you will want 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 Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two options to becoming a technician regardless if 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 present an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Birmingham AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Courses
After you have determined whether you want to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist tech schools to pick from in the Birmingham AL area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Birmingham home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are many other factors that you must consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges and vocational 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 evaluated and verified to provide a complete quality education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it may assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Birmingham AL employers 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 every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This qualification may be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent 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 Give Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Birmingham AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some support. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Birmingham AL home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Birmingham AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Birmingham Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacist tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained 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 laboratory and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies 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 sure to make the ideal selection. With the right education and commitment you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in Birmingham Alabama.