How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacist Technician Course Near Douglas Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near DouglasAZ, you might be thinking about how to select the best program to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. Many prospective students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important factors when selecting a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. And if you are interested in studying in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have multiple job duties, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Douglas AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the common daily services a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- 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
- Stock 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 evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very gratifying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Douglas AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Douglas AZ pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Programs Online
Before selecting a pharmacist tech online school, it's important to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Douglas pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to receive some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed over the internet in your Douglas AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online classes might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Programs
After you have decided whether you wish to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist technician programs to choose from in the Douglas AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Douglas home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other issues that you need to consider in order to adequately compare schools. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Make sure to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Douglas AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This qualification can be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Douglas Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial job in Douglas AZ after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any assistance. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Douglas AZ residence. Individuals who have decided 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 importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy tech school you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Douglas AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Douglas Pharmacy Technician School
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech programs incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to enroll in a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the appropriate training and dedication you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in Douglas Arizona.