How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacy Tech Course Near Casa Grande Arizona
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Casa GrandeAZ, you may be wondering how to select the best college to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many future students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical factors when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. And if you prefer attending classes at home by means 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 cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Function of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have various job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Casa Grande AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a technician 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 finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Casa Grande AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Casa Grande AZ pharmacies will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished 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 exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Colleges Online
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in a local Casa Grande pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Casa Grande AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online instruction might be the best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have determined whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician schools to select from in the Casa Grande AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade 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 Casa Grande residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you should take into consideration so that you may properly compare programs. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacist Tech College Accredited? Most pharmacist tech programs 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). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Casa Grande AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician college needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This condition may be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent 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 School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Casa Grande AZ upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult task without any help. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Casa Grande 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. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back 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 colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Casa Grande AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Casa Grande Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the ideal pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician colleges include both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in 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 suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate education and commitment you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in Casa Grande Arizona.