How to Choose the Best Pharmacy Technician School Near Flagstaff Arizona
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near FlagstaffAZ, you might be wondering just how to select the right school to receive your education and training. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. A number of future students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical factors when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. And if you prefer attending classes 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 cover these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the diploma and degree options available.
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Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
The fastest route to becoming a pharmacy technician is through a certificate or diploma program. These take around two semesters, or one year to complete. Some states will require you to pass a certification exam after your program. Pharmacy technician associate’s degree programs provide a greater depth of study in the pharmaceutical sciences and in management and customer service, as well as general education classes. Associate’s degree programs take approximately two years to complete. Prospective pharmacy technicians who are considering an undergraduate degree in the future may want to go with an associates’ degree, as many of their credits can be applied to a future degree. Those who graduate from an associate’s degree program may find themselves in greater demand or eligible for more generous compensation. Often, degree holders are better positioned for advancement. The choice between these two paths will depend on your goals and the amount of money you have available to invest in your education, but it is important to select a program that is accredited.
What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Programs
Once you have determined whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacy technician colleges to pick from in the Flagstaff AZ area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Flagstaff home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other issues that you need to take into consideration so that you may effectively compare schools. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Flagstaff AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to prep 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 requirement may be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Flagstaff Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first position in Flagstaff AZ upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Flagstaff AZ home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech program you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Flagstaff 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 enroll in. Also, ask 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 Right Flagstaff Pharmacy Technician Program
Getting the ideal pharmacist tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where assisting customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech programs include both classroom and clinical work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to select a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the proper education and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Flagstaff Arizona.