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How to Pick the Right Pharmacy Technician Training Program Near Anthem Arizona

Anthem Arizona pharmacy technician stocking shelfNow that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near AnthemAZ, you may be thinking about how to select the right school to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important concerns when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation must 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 school will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.

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The Role of a Pharmacy Tech

Anthem Arizona hospital pharmacy technician wearing lab coat

Pharmacy techs have many job responsibilities, but their primary responsibility 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 because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy technician may perform are:

  • Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
  • Fill prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
  • Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
  • Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
  • Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Stock shelves and audit 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 evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is an extremely fulfilling career assisting customers with their health and wellness.

Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees

Anthem Arizona pharmacy stockStudents wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Anthem AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.

Pharmacy Tech Available Certifications

Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Anthem AZ pharmacies will only employ a tech 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 completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacist Tech Online Programs

Anthem Arizona young female student taking pharmacy tech training onlinePrior to deciding on a pharmacy tech online program, it's important to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in a local Anthem pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Anthem AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the best choice for you.

Points to Ask Pharmacist Technician Courses

Once you have determined whether you want to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech colleges to pick from in the Anthem AZ area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Anthem residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other issues that you need to take into consideration so that you may effectively compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.

Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among 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 verified to provide a complete superior education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it might assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require 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 Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech program should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This condition can be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.

Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. One of the best ways 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 practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Anthem Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.

Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in Anthem AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult task without some help. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.

Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Anthem AZ residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on 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 perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy technician program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Anthem AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.

How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Anthem

Enroll in the Best Anthem Pharmacy Tech Course

Getting the ideal pharmacist tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech programs incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the right training and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Anthem Arizona.



 

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