How to Choose the Best Pharmacist Tech Course Near Avondale Arizona
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near AvondaleAZ, you may be pondering just how to pick the best college to get your education and training. Naturally the first step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. Many prospective students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important concerns when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation must be evaluated also. And if you are interested in attending classes in your 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 qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have numerous job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Avondale AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily functions a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is a very gratifying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 alternatives to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Avondale AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option 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 expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Avondale AZ pharmacies will only hire a tech 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 at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Before deciding on a pharmacist technician online training program, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Avondale pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Avondale AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online training might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Tech Programs
After you have decided whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy tech colleges to select from in the Avondale AZ area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Avondale residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are several other issues that you need to consider so that you may effectively compare schools. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it might help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Avondale AZ employers 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 many pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This condition may be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Avondale Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial job in Avondale AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some support. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Avondale AZ home. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry 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 choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy tech school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Avondale AZ area, confirm that they are available. 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 carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Right Avondale Pharmacy Technician Program
Finding the best pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their health is your objective. In the past, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician programs include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the appropriate training and determination you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in Avondale Arizona.