How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacy Technician School Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Drexel HeightsAZ, you might be wondering just how to choose the best program to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. A number of prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job responsibilities, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Drexel Heights AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions 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. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Input prescription and customer 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
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two alternatives to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Drexel Heights AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Drexel Heights 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 requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Programs
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online training program, it's important to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Drexel Heights pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to get some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Drexel Heights AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each 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 disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Colleges
Once you have decided whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician programs to select from in the Drexel Heights AZ area and throughout the Country, 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 undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving 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 significant. But there are many other factors that you should consider so that you may adequately compare schools. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it might help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Drexel Heights AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech school should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This qualification can be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train 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 fulfill the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Drexel Heights Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Drexel Heights AZ after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting task without any support. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher 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 employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Drexel Heights AZ home. Students who have decided 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 concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may 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 sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist technician school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Drexel Heights AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Drexel Heights Pharmacy Technician Program
Receiving the best pharmacist tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech schools include both classroom and clinical work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the right training and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Drexel Heights Arizona.