How to Pick the Best Pharmacist Technician Program Near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Catalina FoothillsAZ, you might be thinking about just how to pick the best program to receive your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. Many future students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical concerns when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in studying in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Job of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Catalina Foothills AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily functions a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is a very gratifying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Catalina Foothills 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 offer a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to get certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Catalina Foothills AZ employers will only employ a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer 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 work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Schools
Before choosing a pharmacist tech online program, it's important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Catalina Foothills pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Catalina Foothills AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online classes may be the best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Schools
Once you have decided whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist tech schools to choose from in the Catalina Foothills AZ area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Catalina Foothills residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are several other issues that you must consider in order to properly compare schools. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a complete superior education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, it may help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Catalina Foothills AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This qualification may be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on 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 a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Catalina Foothills Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial position in Catalina Foothills AZ after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting task without some help. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Catalina Foothills AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy technician program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Catalina Foothills AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Catalina Foothills Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the right pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your mission. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech schools include both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to select a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate training and determination you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Catalina Foothills Arizona.