How to Pick the Right Pharmacist Technician School Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Drexel HeightsAZ, you might be pondering just how to choose the right program to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of future students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important concerns when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Duties of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have various job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Drexel Heights AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily duties a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs 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 payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished 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. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Drexel Heights AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about two years of studies. Although not needed 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. Either program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Drexel Heights AZ pharmacies 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 requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Online Schools
Before selecting a pharmacist tech online college, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in an area Drexel Heights pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Drexel Heights AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 classes might be the best solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Schools
After you have decided whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech schools to select from in the Drexel Heights AZ area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Drexel Heights home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are many other variables that you should consider so that you may properly compare schools. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete quality education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it might assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Drexel Heights AZ employers 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 all states, but many pharmacies desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This condition may be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Drexel Heights Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Drexel Heights AZ upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any help. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Drexel Heights 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. One thing 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 may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically 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 prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Drexel Heights AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Drexel Heights Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech programs incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a program 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 other tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the proper education and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Drexel Heights Arizona.