How to Find the Right Pharmacy Technician Course Near Casa Grande Arizona
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Casa GrandeAZ, you might be thinking about just how to choose the best program to receive your education and training. Of course the first step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many prospective students start by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Job of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have various job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Casa Grande AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree and Certificate Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 alternatives to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Casa Grande AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Casa Grande AZ employers will only hire 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 candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy technician online college, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Casa Grande pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Casa Grande AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Colleges
Once you have determined whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacist tech programs to pick from in the Casa Grande AZ area and throughout the USA, 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 initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving 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 significant. But there are several other factors that you need to take into consideration so that you may effectively compare schools. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacist Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among 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 furnish a complete quality education. Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it can assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Casa Grande AZ employers 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 required in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech college should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This qualification may be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Casa Grande Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Casa Grande AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging task without some support. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Casa Grande AZ home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly 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 the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Casa Grande AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Casa Grande Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the right pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech colleges include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to choose a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the right training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Casa Grande Arizona.