How to Pick the Best Pharmacy Technician Course Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Drexel HeightsAZ, you may be thinking about how to pick the best college to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. Many future students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation 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 address these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy techs have numerous job functions, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. 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 good customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily functions a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Input 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
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very satisfying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Drexel Heights AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to get certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of 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 requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Before deciding on a pharmacist tech online program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Drexel Heights pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to get some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Drexel Heights AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online program 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 formal type of education, then online instruction may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Courses
After you have determined whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacy tech programs to pick from in the Drexel Heights AZ area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Drexel Heights residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are many other variables that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare programs. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it might assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Drexel Heights AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many employers prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician program needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical 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 an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Drexel Heights Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that first position in Drexel Heights AZ after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult task without any help. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Drexel Heights 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 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial 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 offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Drexel Heights Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech programs incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the right training and commitment you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Drexel Heights Arizona.