How to Pick the Best Pharmacy Technician Program Near El Mirage Arizona
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near El MirageAZ, you may be thinking about just how to choose the ideal school to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. Many potential students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant concerns when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. And if you are interested in studying in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Job of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed El Mirage AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree and Certificate Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two alternatives to training to be a tech 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 finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved El Mirage AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Available Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many El Mirage AZ pharmacies will only employ a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, 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 applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Prior to selecting a pharmacy technician online college, it's important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area El Mirage pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to get some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your El Mirage AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, especially for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have decided whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy technician schools to pick from in the El Mirage AZ area and throughout the USA, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your El Mirage residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are several other variables that you need to take into consideration in order to properly compare schools. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have earned a regional or national 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 comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many El Mirage AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician college should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This condition may be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train 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 fulfill the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with El Mirage Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that initial job in El Mirage AZ upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some help. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their El Mirage AZ home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the El Mirage AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best El Mirage Pharmacy Technician School
Receiving the right pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician schools include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the appropriate education and determination you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in El Mirage Arizona.