How to Choose the Right Pharmacist Technician Program Near Douglas Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near DouglasAZ, you might be thinking about just how to pick the best program to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. Many future students start by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important factors when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated as well. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college 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 first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Job of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Douglas AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be working 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 in order that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is an extremely fulfilling career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Douglas AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option 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 extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many Douglas AZ employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, 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 exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Classes
Before selecting a pharmacist tech online school, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in an area Douglas pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Douglas AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, especially for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction might be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Technician Colleges
After you have determined whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are many pharmacy tech colleges to choose from in the Douglas AZ area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Douglas residence. 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 several other variables that you should consider in order to properly compare colleges. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you get a superior education, it might help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Douglas AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of employers desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician program should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This condition can be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Douglas Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in Douglas AZ upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Douglas AZ residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 kind of student that likes to sit way 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 schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak 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 need to verify that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Douglas AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Right Douglas Pharmacy Technician School
Finding the ideal pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacist 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 educated technicians. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician schools include both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to select a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the appropriate training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Douglas Arizona.