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How to Select the Best Pharmacy Technician School Near Anthem Arizona

Anthem Arizona pharmacy technician taking prescription from shelfNow that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near AnthemAZ, you may be thinking about how to select the best college to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many future students start by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical factors when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.

It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below

The Duties of Pharmacy Technicians

Anthem Arizona hospital pharmacy technician wearing lab coat

Pharmacy techs have numerous job functions, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Anthem AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech may perform are:

  • Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
  • Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
  • Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
  • Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
  • Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory

Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is a very rewarding career assisting customers with their health and wellness.

Pharmacy Tech Degrees

Anthem Arizona pharmacy shelves with prescriptionsIndividuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 options to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Anthem AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.

Pharmacist Tech Certifications Available

It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician 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 technician that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:

  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
  • Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)

The NHA requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacist Technician Online Schools

Anthem Arizona young female student enrolled in pharmacy tech classes onlinePrior to selecting a pharmacy tech online college, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Anthem pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Anthem AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the best option for you.

What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Schools

Once you have decided whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist tech colleges to pick from in the Anthem AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges 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 college, then location may not be critical. But there are several other factors that you should consider so that you may effectively compare programs. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.

Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacy technician colleges and vocational 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 provide a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, it might help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program 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 College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician college should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This condition may be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.

Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Anthem Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.

Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Anthem AZ after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging task without some assistance. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Anthem AZ home. Individuals 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 importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech school you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Anthem AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.

More on How to Learn to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Anthem

Find the Best Anthem Pharmacy Tech Course

Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where helping people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician programs include both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the right education and determination you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Anthem Arizona.



 

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