How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacist Technician Course Near Chandler Arizona
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near ChandlerAZ, you might be pondering how to select the best school to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. Many potential students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are critical concerns when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be evaluated also. And if you prefer attending classes at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Function of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have multiple job responsibilities, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Chandler AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever give medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily tasks a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Input prescription and customer 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
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Chandler AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Chandler AZ pharmacies will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician 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 usually fulfilled in an area Chandler pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to receive some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Chandler AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program 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 study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have determined whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician schools to choose from in the Chandler AZ area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Chandler residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are several other factors that you should consider in order to properly compare programs. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered 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 earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This condition can be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train 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 satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Chandler Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Chandler AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some support. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Chandler AZ home. Those who have chosen 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 concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly 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 likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Chandler AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Chandler Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the right pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician colleges include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the appropriate training and determination you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Chandler Arizona.