How to Find the Best Pharmacy Technician Program Near Coolidge Arizona
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near CoolidgeAZ, you might be pondering how to select the best college to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of potential students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. And if you prefer studying at home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have multiple job functions, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Coolidge 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 medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily tasks a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Coolidge AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each 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
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Coolidge AZ pharmacies will only employ 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 candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Colleges Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Coolidge pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Coolidge AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance 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 option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Tech Programs
Once you have determined whether you would like to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacist tech schools to choose 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 addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Coolidge home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other issues that you must take into consideration so that you may properly compare schools. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among 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 furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you get a superior education, it might assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. 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 Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the programs have associations with Coolidge Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Coolidge AZ after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Coolidge AZ residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on 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 opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy tech college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Coolidge AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Coolidge Pharmacy Technician Program
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary 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 follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate training and dedication you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in Coolidge Arizona.