How to Choose the Best Pharmacist Tech Training Program Near Coolidge Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near CoolidgeAZ, you might be wondering how to pick the right program to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. A number of future students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Duties of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Coolidge AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily functions a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very gratifying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Coolidge AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 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 down the road. Each program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Coolidge AZ employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Before deciding on a pharmacist technician online program, it's important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Coolidge pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to receive some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Coolidge AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Programs
Once you have decided whether you would like to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Coolidge AZ area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Coolidge home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other variables that you need to consider so that you may adequately compare programs. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have earned a regional or national 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 screened and verified to offer a complete superior education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it might assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Coolidge AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech school should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This condition may be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled 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 a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Coolidge Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that first position in Coolidge AZ upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any help. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Coolidge AZ residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Coolidge AZ area, check 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 have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Right Coolidge Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the best pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech schools incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to select a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the appropriate education and determination you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Coolidge Arizona.