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Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have decided whether you would like to obtain 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 target your school options. There are numerous pharmacist tech colleges to pick from in the Vestavia Hills AL area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Vestavia Hills residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other variables that you must consider in order to properly compare programs. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Vestavia Hills AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech school should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This condition may be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Vestavia Hills Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Vestavia Hills AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some support. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Vestavia Hills AL residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist technician school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Vestavia Hills AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.