How to Find the Best Pharmacy Technician Program Near Anthem Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near AnthemAZ, you may be wondering just how to select the right school to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. Many prospective students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical factors when selecting a college, 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 address these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have multiple job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Anthem AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily duties a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Anthem AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Anthem AZ employers will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Schools Online
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online school, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Anthem pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to obtain some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Anthem AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 training might be the ideal solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have decided whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician programs to pick from in the Anthem AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Anthem home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other variables that you should consider so that you may adequately compare programs. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete quality education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it might assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might 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 Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician school should prep 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 qualification may be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Anthem Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial job in Anthem AZ upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are researching 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 appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Anthem AZ residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher 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 a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Anthem AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option 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 as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Anthem Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech programs include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to select a college that is accredited and will ready 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 evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the right training and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Anthem Arizona.