How to Find the Right Pharmacist Tech Training Program Near Avondale Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near AvondaleAZ, you may be wondering how to pick the ideal program to receive your education and training. Of course the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant factors when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. And if you prefer attending classes at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will want 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 Function of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job duties, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Avondale AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily functions a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is an extremely satisfying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two alternatives to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Avondale AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Avondale AZ employers will only employ a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Classes Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist technician online college, it's important to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in a local Avondale pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to obtain some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Avondale AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are considering 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 instruction may be the ideal solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have determined whether you would like to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech colleges to choose from in the Avondale AZ area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Avondale residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you should take into consideration in order to adequately compare schools. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get a superior education, it can assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Avondale AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This condition can be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician 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 a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Avondale Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Avondale AZ upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any support. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Avondale AZ home. Individuals who have chosen 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 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy tech school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Avondale AZ area, verify that they are offered. 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, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Avondale Pharmacy Tech Course
Receiving the right pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician schools incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary 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 make use of our other tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the right education and commitment you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Avondale Arizona.