How to Pick the Right Pharmacist Tech College Near Anthem Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near AnthemAZ, you might be wondering just how to choose the best school to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of potential students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. And if you are interested in studying in your 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 cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Anthem AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority 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 after hours is a very fulfilling career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Anthem AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive 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 choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Available Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Anthem AZ employers will only employ a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy tech online training program, it's important to understand that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Anthem pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Anthem AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online classes might be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist tech programs to select from in the Anthem AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Anthem residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare schools. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program together with the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Anthem AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician school needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work 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 mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech 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 meet the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Anthem Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first position in Anthem AZ upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some help. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Anthem AZ residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist technician program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Anthem AZ area, check 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 enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Best Anthem Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the right pharmacist tech training is an important first step to launching your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician schools include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the appropriate education and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Anthem Arizona.