How to Select the Right Pharmacy Technician Program Near Casas Adobes Arizona
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Casas AdobesAZ, you might be pondering just how to pick the right program to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of future students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant factors when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. And if you are interested in studying in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have various job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Casas Adobes AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily services a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready 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 techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very gratifying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be completed 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. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Casas Adobes AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Casas Adobes AZ pharmacies will only employ a tech that is certified. 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 work 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 both programs, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy tech online school, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area Casas Adobes pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your Casas Adobes AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online classes might be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you want to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist tech schools to pick from in the Casas Adobes AZ area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Casas Adobes home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are many other issues that you need to 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 choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Casas Adobes AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist tech college should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This condition may be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical 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 satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Casas Adobes Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial position in Casas Adobes AZ upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any support. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement 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 field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Casas Adobes AZ home. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for 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 want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Casas Adobes AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Casas Adobes Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the right pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech schools incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the right education and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Casas Adobes Arizona.