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Pharmacy Technician Schools | Get Your Certificate or Degree – Birmingham AL

How to Enroll In a Pharmacy Tech Course near Birmingham 35201

Birmingham AL pharmacy tech preparing prescriptionNow that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Birmingham AL, you might be thinking about just how to pick the best college to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many prospective students start by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant factors when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be evaluated also. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer rather than 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 need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let’s take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.

The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Tech

Birmingham AL pharmacy technician dispensing medsPharmacy techs have multiple job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Birmingham AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist’s instructions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician may perform are:

  • Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
  • Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
  • Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
  • Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
  • Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory

Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career assisting customers with their health and wellness.

Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates

Birmingham AL pharmacy medication supply shelvesStudents wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at {an approved|an accepted Birmingham AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.

Pharmacist Tech Certification Choices

Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Birmingham AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:

  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
  • Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).

The NHA requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacist Tech Online Schools

woman attending pharmacy tech school online in Birmingham ALBefore deciding on a pharmacy technician online school, it’s important to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Birmingham pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to get some work place experience. However 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 convenient for many students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online schools are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online training might be the right solution for you.

Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools

After you have determined whether you want 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 target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy tech programs to pick from in the Birmingham AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Birmingham residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other factors that you should consider in order to properly compare schools. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.

Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Birmingham AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.

Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many employers desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement may be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.

Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Birmingham AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.

Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Birmingham AL upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any help. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer contacts 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 travelling distance of their Birmingham AL residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk 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 finally you must confirm that the pharmacist tech program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Birmingham AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enrolling in a Birmingham AL Pharmacy Tech School?

If you are planning to attend a Pharmacy Technician Certificate or Degree Program in the Birmingham Alabama area, you may find the following background information about the location of your school campus interesting and informative.

Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham (/ˈbɜːrmɪŋhæm/ BUR-ming-ham) is a city in the north central region of the U.S. state of Alabama. With an estimated 2017 population of 210,710, it is the most populous city in Alabama.[4] Birmingham is the seat of Jefferson County, Alabama's most populous and fifth largest county. As of 2017, the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 1,149,807, making it the most populous in Alabama and 49th-most populous in the United States. Birmingham serves as an important regional hub and is associated with the Deep South, Piedmont, and Appalachian regions of the nation.

Birmingham was founded in 1871, during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, through the merger of three farm towns, most notably Elyton. The new city was named for Birmingham, England, the UK's second largest city and, at the time, a major industrial city. The Alabama city annexed smaller neighbors and developed as an industrial center, based on mining, the new iron and steel industry, and rail transport. Most of the original settlers who founded Birmingham were of English ancestry.[5] The city was developed as a place where cheap, non-unionized immigrant labor (primarily Irish and Italian), along with African-American labor from rural Alabama, could work in the city's steel mills and blast furnaces, giving it a competitive advantage over unionized industrial cities in the Midwest and Northeast.[6]:14

From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was a primary industrial center of the southern United States. Its growth from 1881 through 1920 earned it nicknames such as "The Magic City" and "The Pittsburgh of the South". Its major industries were iron and steel production. Major components of the railroad industry, rails and railroad cars, were manufactured in Birmingham. Since the 1860s, the two primary hubs of railroading in the "Deep South" have been Birmingham and Atlanta. The economy diversified in the latter half of the 20th century. Banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education, and insurance have become major economic activities. Birmingham ranks as one of the largest banking centers in the U.S. Also, it is among the most important business centers in the Southeast.

Select the Right Pharmacy Technician Training Program Birmingham AL

Birmingham AL corner drugstoreFinding the right pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were taught “on the job”. Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this 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. A large number of pharmacy technician programs incorporate both laboratory and classromm training. As we have addressed in this article, it’s essential to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. And if you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate training and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Birmingham AL.

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