How to Pick the Best Pharmacist Tech College Near Eloy Arizona
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near EloyAZ, you may be pondering just how to choose the best school to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical factors when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Function of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy techs have many job responsibilities, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Eloy AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to 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 information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very satisfying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational 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 introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Eloy AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Eloy AZ pharmacies will only hire 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 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Before selecting a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in a local Eloy pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Eloy AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as 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 best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have decided whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy technician schools to select from in the Eloy 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 probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Eloy residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are several other variables that you need to consider so that you may properly compare schools. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a complete quality education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of 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 a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech program should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This qualification may be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Eloy Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that first position in Eloy AZ after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any help. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, 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 appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Eloy AZ home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously 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 college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Eloy AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Eloy Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the right pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech colleges include both classroom and clinical work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prep 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 schools so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the right education and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Eloy Arizona.