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How to Select the Best Pharmacy Tech Course Near Douglas Arizona

Douglas Arizona pharmacy technician taking prescription from shelfNow that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near DouglasAZ, you may be pondering just how to choose the right program to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma 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 cost and location are critical factors when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation should be evaluated as well. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.

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The Duties of a Pharmacy Technician

Douglas Arizona hospital pharmacy tech in lab coat

Pharmacy techs have multiple job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Douglas AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician may perform are:

  • Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
  • Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
  • Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
  • Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
  • Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory

As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career helping customers with their health and wellness.

Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas

Douglas Arizona pharmacy shelves with prescriptionsStudents desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Douglas AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.

Pharmacy Technician Certifications

It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Douglas 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 requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacist Technician Online Schools

Douglas Arizona young female student taking pharmacy technician courses onlinePrior to choosing a pharmacist technician online program, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Douglas pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Douglas AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school you are considering 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 supervised form of education, then online classes might be the right solution for you.

Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Colleges

After you have decided whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician colleges to choose from in the Douglas AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Douglas home. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are many other issues that you need to take into consideration in order to effectively compare programs. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.

Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many 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 required in every state, but many employers desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech program should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This condition can be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.

Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Douglas Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.

Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in Douglas AZ after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting task without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are looking at 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 college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Douglas AZ home. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble 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 decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student 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 a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Douglas AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn How to Train to Become a Pharmacy Tech in Douglas

Enroll in the Best Douglas Pharmacy Tech Program

Receiving the right pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician programs include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to select a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the right training and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Douglas Arizona.



 

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