How to Choose the Best Pharmacist Technician School Near Casas Adobes Arizona
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Casas AdobesAZ, you might be pondering just how to pick the right school to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate schools that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. Many future students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Job of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have many job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Casas Adobes AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily duties a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is a very gratifying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates 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 basically two alternatives to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Casas Adobes AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Casas Adobes AZ employers will only hire a tech 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 applicant 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 a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Online Schools
Prior to choosing a pharmacist technician online program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in an area Casas Adobes pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to get some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Casas Adobes AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be decreased 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 obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any 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 dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Courses
Once you have determined whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist tech programs to choose from in the Casas Adobes AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Casas Adobes residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other variables that you need to consider so that you may properly compare schools. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. 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 earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician college should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This qualification may be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Casas Adobes Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Casas Adobes AZ after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any support. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Casas Adobes AZ home. Those who have chosen 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. One thing 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer 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 monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist tech school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Casas Adobes AZ area, verify that they are available. 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 enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Casas Adobes Pharmacy Technician Program
Getting the right pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to select a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the appropriate education and dedication you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Casas Adobes Arizona.