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How to Find the Best Pharmacist Tech Training Program Near Drexel Heights Arizona

Drexel Heights Arizona pharmacy tech stocking shelfHaving made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Drexel HeightsAZ, you might be pondering just how to select the right program to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. Many prospective students start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant factors when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.

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The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Tech

Drexel Heights Arizona hospital pharmacy technician in lab coat

Pharmacy technicians have various job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management 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 preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician may carry out are:

  • Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
  • Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
  • Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
  • Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
  • Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory

Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting people with their health and well-being.

Pharmacy Technician Training Programs

Drexel Heights Arizona pharmacy stockStudents desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two options to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Drexel Heights AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.

Pharmacist Technician Certifications Offered

Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, 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 at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed 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 2 years by both programs, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacy Technician Programs Online

Drexel Heights Arizona young woman enrolled in pharmacy tech training onlineBefore deciding on a pharmacy technician online college, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Drexel Heights pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to get some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Drexel Heights AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school you are reviewing 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 structured form of education, then online training may be the best option for you.

What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs

Once you have determined whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Drexel Heights AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Drexel Heights residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are several other factors that you should take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.

Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a complete superior education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it might help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program 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 Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech college needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This qualification may be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.

Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the schools have associations with Drexel Heights Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.

Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in Drexel Heights AZ after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without any support. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, 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 profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Drexel Heights AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have 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.

What are the Class Sizes ? 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 undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist technician college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Drexel Heights AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.

More on How to Train to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Drexel Heights

Enroll in the Right Drexel Heights Pharmacy Technician Course

Finding the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where helping people with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech programs incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to enroll in a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the right training and commitment you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Drexel Heights Arizona.



 

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