How to Find the Best Pharmacy Technician Program Near Casa Grande Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Casa GrandeAZ, you may be thinking about how to pick the ideal college to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate colleges 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 critical factors when selecting a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation 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 searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Function of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have various job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Casa Grande AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily functions a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree and Certificate Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Casa Grande AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Casa Grande AZ employers will only hire a tech 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, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Schools Online
Before deciding on a pharmacist tech online training program, it's important to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in a local Casa Grande pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Casa Grande AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online classes may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Tech Colleges
After you have determined whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy tech schools to choose from in the Casa Grande AZ area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Casa Grande home. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are many other factors that you must consider so that you may adequately compare colleges. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Make sure to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Casa Grande AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of employers prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician school needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This condition may be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with Casa Grande Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Casa Grande AZ upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some help. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance 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 creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Casa Grande AZ residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher 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 an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist technician program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Casa Grande AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Right Casa Grande Pharmacy Technician Course
Getting the right pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech programs incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the right training and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Casa Grande Arizona.