How to Pick the Best Pharmacist Technician Program Near Casas Adobes Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Casas AdobesAZ, you might be pondering how to choose the right program to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many potential students begin by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant factors when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation must be evaluated also. And if you are interested in 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 cover these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Job of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have many job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Casas Adobes AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily functions a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage 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, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is a very gratifying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade 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 aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Casas Adobes 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 provide a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Available Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Casas Adobes AZ employers will only hire a technician that has earned certification. 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, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online school, it's important to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Casas Adobes pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to get some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Casas Adobes AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Courses
After you have determined whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech schools to pick from in the Casas Adobes AZ area and throughout the USA, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Casas Adobes home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other issues that you must take into consideration so that you may effectively compare programs. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have earned 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 schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, it might help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Casas Adobes AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many employers desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician school needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement may be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Casas Adobes Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial job in Casas Adobes AZ upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Casas Adobes AZ residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Casas Adobes AZ area, check that they are available. 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 due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Casas Adobes Pharmacy Tech Course
Getting the ideal pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained "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. The majority of pharmacy technician programs incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to select a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the right training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Casas Adobes Arizona.