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What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have determined whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician schools to pick from in the Alabaster AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Alabaster residence. If you are able 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 variables that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare programs. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Alabaster AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many employers prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech school should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This qualification may be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be satisfied 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 prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Alabaster AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Alabaster AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some support. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing 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 creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Alabaster AL home. Individuals 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. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Alabaster AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.