How to Select the Right Pharmacist Tech Program Near Chandler Arizona
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near ChandlerAZ, you might be wondering how to pick the right program to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students start by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important concerns when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation must be considered also. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Function of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have multiple job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Chandler AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily duties a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Input 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 control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is a very rewarding career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Chandler AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative 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 opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Tech Available Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Chandler AZ pharmacies will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer 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 finished 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 exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online program, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Chandler pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your Chandler AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training might be the best option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician programs to choose from in the Chandler AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Chandler home. 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 issues that you should take into consideration in order to adequately compare programs. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have earned 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 evaluated and certified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Chandler AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This condition can be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Chandler Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in Chandler AZ after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Chandler AZ residence. Those who have decided 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 concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may 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 type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final 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 last you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Chandler AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Chandler Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician programs incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the proper training and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Chandler Arizona.