How to Find the Right Pharmacy Technician Program Near Eloy Arizona
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near EloyAZ, you might be thinking about 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 diploma that you are interested in. Many potential students begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical factors when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Function of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job duties, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Eloy AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the common daily functions a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Call 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 technicians 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 payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very satisfying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degree and Certificate Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two options to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Eloy AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Eloy AZ employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two 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 completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist technician online program, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area Eloy pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to obtain some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Eloy AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, especially for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check 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 disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online training may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Colleges
After you have decided whether you want to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy technician colleges to select from in the Eloy AZ area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Eloy home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other issues that you must take into consideration in order to effectively compare programs. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacist Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among 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 comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Eloy AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many employers desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This qualification may be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Eloy Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Eloy AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any help. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Eloy AZ residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps 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 commonly 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 person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering 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 converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Eloy AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Eloy Pharmacy Technician Course
Receiving the right pharmacist tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician programs incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the proper education and determination you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Eloy Arizona.