Pharmacy Tech School
How to Pick the Best One Near Birmingham Alabama
Now it’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Birmingham AL so you can receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? When checking out pharmacy technician schools, many potential students start by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are important factors when deciding on a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Birmingham AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Before deciding on a pharmacist technician online training program, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Birmingham pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to acquire some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Birmingham AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online classes may be the ideal solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech colleges to choose from in the Birmingham AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Birmingham home. If you are able 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 issues that you should take into consideration in order to properly compare schools. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate 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 School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of employers prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician college should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which may be met through 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 a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Birmingham AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Securing that first position in Birmingham AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Birmingham AL residence. Those who have opted 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 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Birmingham AL area, confirm that they are offered. 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, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Birmingham Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the right pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where helping people with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech programs include both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered 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 classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate training and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Birmingham Alabama.