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Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have decided whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy tech programs to pick from in the Chandler AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Chandler residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are several other variables that you should consider in order to adequately compare schools. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have earned a regional or national 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 screened and certified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Chandler AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech program needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Chandler AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in Chandler AZ upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some support. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Chandler AZ residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online 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 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical 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 a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist tech school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Chandler AZ area, check that they are available. 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 protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.