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What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Courses
Once you have determined whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician schools to pick from in the Helena AL area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Helena home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other factors that you need to take into consideration so that you may effectively compare colleges. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs 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). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it may help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Helena AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This requirement may be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Helena Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial job in Helena AL upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without some help. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Helena AL residence. Students who have opted 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 concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist tech school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Helena AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.