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What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are many pharmacist technician colleges to select from in the Decatur AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Decatur residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are many other issues that you need to take into consideration so that you may adequately compare programs. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you receive 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 mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Decatur AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many employers desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech program needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This condition may be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Decatur AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Decatur AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some assistance. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Decatur AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Decatur AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.