How to Select the Right Pharmacy Tech College Near Anthem Arizona
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near AnthemAZ, you may be wondering just how to pick the right program to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many prospective students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important factors when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated also. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Duties of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have multiple job responsibilities, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Anthem AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Anthem AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs choose to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Anthem AZ pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Before selecting a pharmacy technician online college, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in an area Anthem pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech so as to get some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Anthem AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online classes might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Courses
After you have decided whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacist tech colleges to choose from in the Anthem AZ area and throughout the Country, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Anthem home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other issues that you should take into consideration so that you may properly compare colleges. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Anthem AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician college should prepare 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 can be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Anthem Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in Anthem AZ upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Anthem AZ home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist tech program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Anthem AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Anthem Pharmacy Technician School
Finding the best pharmacist technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to select a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the right training and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Anthem Arizona.