How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacist Technician Training Program Near Flagstaff Arizona
Having decided to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near FlagstaffAZ, you might be thinking about just how to pick the right school to receive your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant factors when deciding on a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have many job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Flagstaff AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since 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 a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily services a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Flagstaff AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Flagstaff AZ pharmacies will only employ a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Colleges Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online college, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in a local Flagstaff pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Flagstaff AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. 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, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Schools
Once you have determined whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy tech programs to pick from in the Flagstaff AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Flagstaff home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare schools. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacist Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacy tech colleges and trade 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 evaluated and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it can assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Flagstaff AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician school should 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 condition may be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied with an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Flagstaff Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Flagstaff AZ upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are researching 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 an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Flagstaff AZ home. Individuals 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 concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person 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 enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Flagstaff AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative 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 might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Flagstaff Pharmacy Technician Program
Finding the ideal pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way 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. A large number of pharmacy technician programs include both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to enroll in 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 other suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the proper education and dedication you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Flagstaff Arizona.