How to Pick the Best Pharmacy Technician School Near Flagstaff Arizona
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near FlagstaffAZ, you may be wondering how to choose the ideal school to receive your education and training. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important factors when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. And if you prefer studying 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 address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's review the certificate and degree options available.
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Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
A pharmacy technician diploma or certificate program can be completed in one year or less and provides the basic education and training needed to sit for the Certified Pharmacy Technician exam. These programs introduce students to basic concepts in pharmaceutical technology, record keeping, pharmacy law and ethics, and pharmacology. They typically include a combination of classroom learning and lab training so that students learn how to dispense medication, prepare sterile products, and manage prescription orders. Students interested in a more comprehensive educational experience can enroll in a pharmacy technician associate degree program. Although a degree is not required to apply for entry-level positions, some students choose to pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree so they can advance in their careers and apply for jobs as a compounding lab technician, pharmacy service technician, pharmacy implementation specialist or similar roles. Earning an associate degree can also help a student prepare for a Bachelor of Pharmacy or a bachelor’s degree in a related field.
What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Courses
Once you have determined whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacist tech programs to pick from in the Flagstaff AZ area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Flagstaff home. 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 issues that you need to consider in order to properly compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacist technician programs and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among 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 furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Make sure 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 organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Flagstaff AZ employers 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 every state, but many employers prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech school should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This qualification may be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Flagstaff Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first position in Flagstaff AZ after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting task without any support. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, 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 creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Flagstaff AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist tech school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Flagstaff AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify 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 may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Flagstaff Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the proper training and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Flagstaff Arizona.