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Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech schools to choose from in the Bessemer AL area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Bessemer residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are several other variables that you need to consider in order to adequately compare programs. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Many pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Make sure to verify that the degree or certificate program together with the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it might help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Bessemer AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This condition can be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied 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 technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Bessemer AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Bessemer AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some help. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Bessemer AL residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually 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 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 enable 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Bessemer AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.