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What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have decided whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician programs to pick from in the Birmingham AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Birmingham home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are several other factors that you should take into consideration in order to properly compare programs. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Birmingham 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 numerous pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech college needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This qualification can be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Birmingham AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Birmingham AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any help. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Birmingham AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist technician college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must 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, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.