How to Pick the Best Pharmacy Technician Training Program Near Douglas Arizona
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near DouglasAZ, you may be wondering just how to select the ideal school to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of future students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important factors when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation must be considered also. And if you are interested in studying at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy techs have numerous job responsibilities, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Douglas AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily duties a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready 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 job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Douglas AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs choose to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Douglas AZ pharmacies will only hire a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Online Programs
Prior to choosing a pharmacy tech online college, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in a local Douglas pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to get some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Douglas AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online programs are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Tech Programs
Once you have decided whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program 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 Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Douglas home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other issues that you must consider so that you may properly compare schools. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Make sure to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it might help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often 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 graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech college should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Douglas Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first position in Douglas AZ after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting task without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, find out 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 indicates that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Douglas AZ home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry 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 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 typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist tech program you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Douglas AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, 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 protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Douglas Pharmacy Technician School
Receiving the best pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech schools incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to select a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the proper education and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Douglas Arizona.