How to Choose the Best Pharmacy Tech Training Program Near Casa Grande Arizona
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Casa GrandeAZ, you may be wondering just how to select the right college to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of potential students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical concerns when selecting a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have many job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because 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 abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be completed 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 include an internship at an accepted Casa Grande AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools choose to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Casa Grande AZ employers will only employ a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide 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 at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Classes
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online training program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in an area Casa Grande pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Casa Grande AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive 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 each online college 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 study with a less structured form of education, then online classes might be the best option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have determined whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacist tech schools to pick from in the Casa Grande AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Casa Grande residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are several other factors that you should consider so that you may adequately compare schools. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs 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 evaluated and certified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it might help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Casa Grande AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of employers prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech school should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This qualification can be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Casa Grande Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that first position in Casa Grande AZ after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult task without any support. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Casa Grande AZ home. Students who have decided 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 concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Casa Grande AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Casa Grande Pharmacy Technician Program
Getting the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where helping people with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech schools incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to enroll in 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 follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the proper education and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Casa Grande Arizona.