How to Pick the Right Pharmacist Technician Course Near Buckeye Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near BuckeyeAZ, you might be pondering just how to pick the right program to get your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover 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 degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Buckeye AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may 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 concerning medications or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree and Certificate Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Buckeye AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about two 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. Each program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Available Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to get certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Buckeye AZ employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Schools Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacist tech online training program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area Buckeye pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to receive some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Buckeye AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online classes may be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech schools to pick from in the Buckeye AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Buckeye home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you should consider in order to properly compare programs. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it might assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many Buckeye AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This condition may be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Buckeye Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that initial job in Buckeye AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without any assistance. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Buckeye AZ home. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist tech program you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Buckeye AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Buckeye Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their health is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies 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. The majority of pharmacist technician colleges include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the right training and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Buckeye Arizona.