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What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have determined whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy technician schools to choose from in the Northport AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Northport residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other variables that you need to consider so that you may 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 College Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of 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 comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it may assist 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 a number of Northport AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many employers desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech school 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 condition may be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way 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 prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Northport AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in Northport AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting task without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Northport AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online 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 perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher 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 a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Northport AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.