How to Pick the Right Pharmacist Tech Training Program Near Buckeye Arizona
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near BuckeyeAZ, you may be pondering how to pick the right college to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. Many potential students begin by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important factors when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in studying at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will need 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 benefits of online classes.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have various job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Buckeye 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 filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the common daily duties a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is a very gratifying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that 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 diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Buckeye AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. 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
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Buckeye AZ employers will only employ a technician that has earned certification. 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, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Buckeye pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your Buckeye AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each 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 dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online instruction might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Colleges
Once you have determined whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy tech schools to select from in the Buckeye AZ area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community 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 relocate 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 factors that you must consider in order to properly compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among 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 certified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Buckeye AZ employers 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 many employers prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech college should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires one year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through 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 technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the programs have associations with Buckeye Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Buckeye AZ after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without any help. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Buckeye AZ residence. 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 local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy tech school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Buckeye AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Right Buckeye Pharmacy Technician Program
Finding the ideal pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician programs incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to choose a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the appropriate training and determination you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Buckeye Arizona.