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Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have decided whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician programs to choose from in the Anchorage AK area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Anchorage residence. If you are willing to relocate 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 variables that you must consider so that you may adequately compare colleges. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Anchorage AK employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of employers desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech school should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This requirement may be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Anchorage Alaska area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that initial job in Anchorage AK after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some support. Find out 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 indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Anchorage AK residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching 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 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 as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy tech college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Anchorage AK area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.