Pharmacy Tech School
How to Choose the Right One Near Birmingham Alabama
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Birmingham AL so you can receive the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. Naturally the first step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of future students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant factors when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. You might also want to research some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Birmingham AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to get certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Birmingham AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Schools
Before selecting a pharmacist technician online school, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in an area Birmingham pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Birmingham AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction might be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have decided whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician programs 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 compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Birmingham residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are several other variables that you should take into consideration in order to effectively compare programs. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require 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 Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many employers desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician college should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This qualification may be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with Birmingham AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in Birmingham AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult task without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Birmingham AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy tech school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Birmingham AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Birmingham Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their health is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech programs incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the appropriate training and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Birmingham Alabama.