How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacist Technician Course Near Chandler Arizona
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near ChandlerAZ, you might be wondering how to choose the best college to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. Many future students begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant concerns when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated also. And if you are interested in studying in your 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 cover these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Job of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Chandler AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 alternatives to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Chandler AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech schools choose to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Chandler AZ employers will only hire a tech 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 at least 18 years old, 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 graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in an area Chandler pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to receive some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Chandler AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Courses
Once you have decided whether you want to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech programs to select from in the Chandler AZ area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Chandler residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you must take into consideration so that you may effectively compare colleges. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a complete superior education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it might assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Chandler AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many pharmacies desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This requirement may be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Chandler Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial position in Chandler AZ after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any support. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Chandler AZ residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist tech college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Chandler AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Chandler Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way 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 pharmacy technician programs incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the right education and dedication you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Chandler Arizona.