How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacist Technician Program Near Florence Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near FlorenceAZ, you might be wondering how to choose the ideal college to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many future students start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and 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 certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have multiple job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Florence AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily functions a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Florence AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Florence AZ employers will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide 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 finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online training program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Florence pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to receive some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Florence AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, especially for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction may be the ideal solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have determined whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy technician colleges to choose from in the Florence AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Florence residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are many other issues that you should consider so that you may adequately compare programs. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacist Tech Program Accredited? Many pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a complete superior education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it might assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Florence AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician school should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This requirement can be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire 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 satisfy the requirement. Check if the programs have associations with Florence Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Florence AZ after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any help. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Florence AZ home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist tech program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Florence AZ area, make certain that they are offered. 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 need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Florence Pharmacy Technician Course
Getting the right pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech programs incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to select a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the proper education and determination you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Florence Arizona.