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Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
Once you have determined whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician programs to select from in the El Mirage AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your El Mirage residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other issues that you need to take into consideration in order to adequately compare schools. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many El Mirage AZ employers 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 a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech school needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with El Mirage AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in El Mirage AZ upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any help. Find out if the schools you are considering 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 an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their El Mirage AZ residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately 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 evening or weekend classes in the El Mirage AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.