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Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have decided whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacist tech programs to pick from in the Florence AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Florence residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other factors that you need to consider in order to properly compare colleges. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you get a superior education, it may help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Florence AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist tech program needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This qualification may be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get 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 colleges have a working relationship with Florence AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Florence AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting task without any support. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Florence AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Florence AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.