How to Select the Best Pharmacist Tech Course Near Douglas Arizona
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near DouglasAZ, you may be wondering just how to choose the right school to get your education and training. Of course 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 looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have numerous job responsibilities, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Douglas AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily functions a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is a very satisfying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two options to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Douglas AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Douglas AZ pharmacies will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two 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, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Colleges
Prior to selecting a pharmacy technician online program, 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 satisfied in an area Douglas pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Douglas AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online school 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 training may be the best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Programs
Once you have determined whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, 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 numerous pharmacist tech programs to select from in the Douglas AZ area and throughout the USA, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Douglas residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are several other issues that you need to consider in order to properly compare schools. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional 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 certified to offer a complete quality education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it might assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. 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 College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many pharmacies desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech school should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This condition can be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Douglas Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Douglas AZ after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some assistance. Ask 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 indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Douglas AZ residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small 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 want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Douglas AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Best Douglas Pharmacy Tech Course
Receiving the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the proper education and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Douglas Arizona.