Pharmacy Technician Schools in Birmingham, AL

Pharmacy technicians play an important role in a pharmacy team that is becoming more complex, both in the retail and clinical settings. 

They assist their supervising pharmacist with all aspects of medication dispensing, and they are frequently the first point of contact for customers. Vaccine clinics and other retail pharmacy-based general healthcare offerings are now available to some.

To get started in this healthcare career, this article reviews the top schools offering pharmacy technician programs to residents in Birmingham, state requirements, salary expectations and job growth outlook.

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Pharmacy Technician State Requirements

A pharmacy technician in Alabama must be registered with, and receive a permit to practice from the State Board of Pharmacy in order to work.

To do so, they must have a formal job offer in place. They must also be at least 17 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, provide fingerprints for analysis, and pass a drug test. Candidates who have committed any drug-related misdemeanors or a felony of any kind are ineligible to register.

Pharmacy Technician Certification is not a requirement, but the majority of employers prefer it. As one must find a job before registering, the education provided by a pharmacy technician school can be the key to getting that great job offer.

Birmingham Pharmacy Technician Salary and Job Outlook

Before you start the process of becoming a pharmacy technician, it's a good idea to learn more about the job growth and earnings potential of the field, especially if you plan to go to school for formal certification.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual wage nationally for a pharmacy technician in 2022 was $37,790, or $18.17 per hour. The figure for Alabama as a whole was a little lower, $35,310 per annum, or $16.97 per hour.

As to Birmingham the average wage was similar: $17.18 hourly, which translates to around $35,730 annually.

Salaries will vary according to experience level and employer. According to the same BLS figures the lowest 10% of earners in Birmingham could expect to receive an average of $28,090 or less as an annual salary, rising to $43,670 or more for the top 10%.

As is the case across the country, the job growth prospects for pharmacy technicians in Alabama are good as well. A 15% growth was expected between 2016 and 2026 according to the BLS, but that figure has likely risen since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, as pharmacies have expanded their services - and hiring plans - in its wake.

Pharmacy Technician Schools in Birmingham

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While, as we mentioned, formal certification is not mandated in order to obtain permitted pharmacy technician status in Alabama it can be very helpful. Employers are impressed by it, and as a formal job offer is a must prior to being issued a state permit a PTCB certification - and the knowledge and experience that come along with working towards it via a formal training program, will give candidates for employment a distinct advantage.

There are three schools in the Birmingham metro area that can offer students the chance to complete a PTCB approved pharmacy technician training program. As each of them offers something a little different, taking a closer look at them here should help you make the right decision for you.

Jefferson State Community College

2601 Carson Road
Birmingham, Alabama 35215
Ph: (205) 853-1200

Jefferson State, as is the case for all community colleges, specializes in offering both new graduates and working adults affordable education close to home. Their Pharmacy Technician Certification Preparation program is specifically designed to provide adult students with the knowledge and skills needed to pass the PTCE exam and to work as an entry level pharmacy tech.

Offered as a cash only continuing education program, the campus based course runs for two months, costs $999, plus an additional $100 in fees and books. Classes are held in the evening at the school's main Jefferson campus. Traditional financial aid is not available to cover these costs, but some students may qualify for a state grant to help meet the expense.

To be admitted, students must meet all the requirements to take the PTCE, as well as those of the state for permit issuance. In addition, students must pass a basic math test proving math proficiency at an eighth grade level or higher.

Samford University

800 Lakeshore Drive,
Birmingham, AL 35229
Ph: (205)-726-2011

Samford University's McWhorter School of Pharmacy offers a well respected pharmacy degree program for those wishing to become a pharmacist, but it also offers an eight week PTCE preparation program to those interested in obtaining pharmacy technician certification.

The course, which is open to students over the age of 18 who meet PTCB and state requirements for permitting, offers a focused overview of the knowledge needed to pass the PTCE. It is a campus based offering that meets twice a week in the evenings, and those who do not wish to attend in person may do so by joining live lectures online.

The cost of the program is $899 which can be paid in full upon registration or in two payments of $449.50 prior to the course's end. The price does not include the cost of books or the PTCE fee. Traditional student loans are not available to cover the cost of this program.

George C. Wallace State Community College

801 Main St NW,
Hanceville, AL 35077
Phone: (256) 352-8000

George C. Wallace State Community College is the only school in the Birmingham area offering a pharmacy technology course that is approved by the ASHP as well as the PTCB, something considered a high honor.

The competitive two semester, full time, campus based program offers students an in-depth introduction to pharmacy technology and the skills and knowledge needed to both pass their certification exam and work as an entry level pharmacy technician in a clinical or retail setting. Additional IV training may also qualify them to work in a pharmacy based vaccination program.

To be admitted students must meet all state requirements for permitting and pass a skills assessment as set by the school. Those who are accepted will be charged tuition on a per-credit basis on a sliding scale according to their residence and personal circumstances. Those who qualify can obtain traditional financial aid to cover their costs, and that is how 90% of students do so. 

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