How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacist Tech School Near Apache Junction Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Apache JunctionAZ, you may be thinking about just how to pick the best school to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. Many prospective students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant factors when selecting a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have many job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Apache Junction AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily services a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two options to training to be a technician regardless if 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 provide an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Apache Junction AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Apache Junction AZ pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. 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 work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online college, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Apache Junction pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Apache Junction AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools 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, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Courses
After you have determined whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist technician schools to select from in the Apache Junction AZ area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical 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 Apache Junction home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are many other variables that you must consider so that you may adequately compare programs. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, it might assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Apache Junction AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician school should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Apache Junction Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in Apache Junction AZ after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any help. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement 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 generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Apache Junction AZ home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have 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 don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy tech college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Apache Junction AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Apache Junction Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the right pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech colleges include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to enroll in a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the proper education and determination you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in Apache Junction Arizona.