Pharmacy Tech School
How to Pick the Best One Near Birmingham Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Birmingham AL, you may be pondering just how to select the best school to get your education and training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? When checking out pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are significant concerns when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. And if you are interested in studying at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Birmingham AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy tech online college, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in an area Birmingham pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to obtain some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Birmingham AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online classes may be the right solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy 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 college or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy technician programs to choose 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 technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Birmingham home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are many other issues that you must consider so that you may effectively compare programs. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete quality education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it can help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Birmingham AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech program should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This condition can be fulfilled by entering a school 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. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Birmingham AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first position in Birmingham AL after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Birmingham AL residence. Those 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. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching 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 final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Birmingham AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Birmingham Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech schools incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to select a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the proper education and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Birmingham Alabama.