Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Birmingham Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Birmingham AL, you may be thinking about how to select the best college to get your education and training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of prospective students begin by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. You might also want to look into some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. Below we cover these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools.
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What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have decided 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 narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy tech colleges to select from in the Birmingham AL area and throughout the USA, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs 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 school, then location may not be important. But there are many other factors that you should take into consideration so that you may effectively compare schools. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often 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 earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician college needs to 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 condition may be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Birmingham AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Birmingham AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some help. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Birmingham AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Birmingham AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, 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 due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Birmingham Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their health is your objective. 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 trained techs. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician programs incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to enroll in a college 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 tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the right education and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Birmingham Alabama.