How to Find the Best Pharmacy Technician Course Near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Catalina FoothillsAZ, you might be thinking about how to select the ideal program to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. Many potential students start by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important concerns when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be evaluated 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 included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have various job functions, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Catalina Foothills AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Catalina Foothills 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 furnish a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Available Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified in order to be more competitive 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 offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Colleges Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online program, it's important to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in a local Catalina Foothills pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Catalina Foothills AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online training might be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Schools
Once you have determined whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech schools to choose from in the Catalina Foothills AZ area and throughout the United States, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Catalina Foothills residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you should consider in order to adequately compare schools. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a complete superior education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program together with the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it might help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Catalina Foothills AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of employers desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Catalina Foothills Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in Catalina Foothills AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any support. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing 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 signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Catalina Foothills AZ home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously 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 keep in mind is that if you choose 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist technician school you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Catalina Foothills AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Catalina Foothills Pharmacy Technician School
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician colleges include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a program 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 follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the proper training and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Catalina Foothills Arizona.