How to Choose the Best Pharmacy Tech Program Near Avondale Arizona
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near AvondaleAZ, you might be wondering just how to pick the best program to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many potential students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have numerous job responsibilities, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Avondale AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very satisfying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Avondale AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Avondale AZ pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two 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 one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy tech online college, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area Avondale pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to acquire some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Avondale AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have determined whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer 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 technician schools to pick from in the Avondale AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Avondale home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other factors that you must consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it might assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Avondale AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician program should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This qualification may be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Avondale Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Avondale AZ after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any assistance. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Avondale AZ home. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally 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 often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for 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 rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at 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 a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy tech school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Avondale AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Right Avondale Pharmacy Technician Course
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacists 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. A large number of pharmacist technician programs incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to select a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other 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 to become a pharmacist technician in Avondale Arizona.