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What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have determined whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are many pharmacist technician programs to pick from in the Birmingham AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Birmingham residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other issues that you should consider so that you may properly compare colleges. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacist Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a complete superior education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program together with the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Birmingham AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement can be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Birmingham Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first position in Birmingham AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without some help. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Birmingham AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy tech school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Birmingham AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.