How to Choose the Best Pharmacy Tech Program Near Casa Grande Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Casa GrandeAZ, you might be pondering just how to select the best program to receive your education and training. Of course the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many future students begin by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. And if you prefer attending classes at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Function of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have many job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Casa Grande AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence 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 at times being required to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 options to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Casa Grande AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Casa Grande AZ employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the applicant 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 only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Before deciding on a pharmacist tech online program, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in a local Casa Grande pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to get some work place experience. However 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 practical for many students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online training might be the best option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Courses
Once you have decided whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy tech programs to choose from in the Casa Grande AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Casa Grande home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are several other factors that you should take into consideration so that you may adequately compare programs. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Casa Grande AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This requirement may be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Casa Grande Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in Casa Grande AZ upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult task without any support. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Casa Grande AZ residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average 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 converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Casa Grande AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Casa Grande Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech programs incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the right education and determination you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in Casa Grande Arizona.