How to Choose the Right Pharmacy Technician School Near Buckeye Arizona
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near BuckeyeAZ, you may be thinking about how to select the right college to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. Many future students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant concerns when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated also. And if you are interested in studying in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover 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 technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Role of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have various job functions, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Buckeye AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very satisfying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if 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 present an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Buckeye AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Buckeye AZ employers will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online college, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in a local Buckeye pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Buckeye AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may 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 important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as 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 might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Colleges
Once you have decided whether you would like to obtain 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 options. There are numerous pharmacy tech programs to choose from in the Buckeye AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Buckeye residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are several other issues that you should take into consideration so that you may properly compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacist technician programs and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it might help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. 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 Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician college should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This condition can be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which can be met with 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 tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Buckeye Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Buckeye AZ after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some help. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Buckeye AZ residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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 person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at 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 final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Buckeye AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Buckeye Pharmacy Technician Program
Finding the best pharmacist tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician schools include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate education and dedication you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in Buckeye Arizona.