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Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have determined whether you would like to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist technician programs to choose from in the Northport AL area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Northport residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are several other factors that you must take into consideration in order to effectively compare schools. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it may assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Northport AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician college should prep 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 condition may be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which may be satisfied 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 fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Northport Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in Northport AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any help. Find out 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 indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Northport AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry 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 decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Northport AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.