How to Pick the Best Pharmacy Technician Program Near Coolidge Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near CoolidgeAZ, you might be thinking about how to select the ideal college to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. Many prospective students start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important factors when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation must be taken into account 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 school will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Role of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have various job responsibilities, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Coolidge AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist 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 offer medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is a very gratifying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree and Certificate Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Coolidge AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Coolidge AZ employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 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, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Schools
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online college, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in an area Coolidge pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Coolidge 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 certificate or degree. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional 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 essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have determined whether you wish to earn 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 many pharmacist technician colleges to choose from in the Coolidge AZ area and throughout the Country, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting 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 significant. But there are many other variables that you need to consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Coolidge AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician 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 qualification may be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Coolidge Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial position in Coolidge AZ upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a challenging task without any support. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Coolidge 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 concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist technician program you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Coolidge AZ area, check 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 enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Coolidge Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician programs include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to select a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the proper training and commitment you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Coolidge Arizona.