How to Select the Right Pharmacy Tech Training Program Near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Catalina FoothillsAZ, you may be pondering just how to select the ideal program to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree 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 choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and 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 programs.
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The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have many job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Catalina Foothills AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever give medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily duties a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very gratifying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Catalina Foothills AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about two 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 should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Catalina Foothills AZ employers will only hire a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy tech online school, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Catalina Foothills pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to acquire some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical 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, notably for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Programs
Once you have decided whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician schools to choose from in the Catalina Foothills AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Catalina Foothills home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are many other factors that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare schools. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it can help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Catalina Foothills AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready 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 ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This requirement can be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Catalina Foothills Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that first position in Catalina Foothills AZ after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult task without some support. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Catalina Foothills AZ residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble 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 school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far 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 looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Catalina Foothills AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Catalina Foothills Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the best pharmacist tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their health is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech colleges include both classroom and clinical work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional 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 realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Catalina Foothills Arizona.