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Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have determined whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Helena AL area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Helena home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other factors that you must consider so that you may properly compare colleges. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also obtain 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 accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Helena AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician college should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This requirement can be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied with 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 degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Helena AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Helena AL upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult task without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Helena AL residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps 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 normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher 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 a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist technician school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Helena AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.