How to Select the Right Pharmacy Technician Program Near Douglas Arizona
Having decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near DouglasAZ, you may be pondering just how to choose the right college to get your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important concerns when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be evaluated also. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have various job duties, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Douglas AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily functions a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially 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 gratifying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 options to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually 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 normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Douglas AZ employers will only employ a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant 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 just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Online Classes
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech 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 commonly fulfilled in an area Douglas pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately 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 most students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online schools are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online program you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online classes might be the best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have decided whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician programs to select 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 colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Douglas home. 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 issues that you must consider so that you may properly compare programs. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacist technician programs and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it might help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Douglas AZ pharmacies 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 mandated in every state, but many employers prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician school needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This condition can be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Douglas Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial job in Douglas AZ after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting task without some help. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Douglas AZ home. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy tech school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Douglas AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Douglas Pharmacy Technician Course
Finding the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician programs incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary 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 additional tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the right education and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Douglas Arizona.