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What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have determined whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacy tech colleges to select from in the Birmingham AL area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Birmingham home. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other factors that you should take into consideration so that you may properly compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a complete superior education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Birmingham AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of employers prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This qualification can be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Birmingham Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial job in Birmingham AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, 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 means that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Birmingham AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Birmingham AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out 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 may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.