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How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacy Tech Course Near Florence Arizona

Florence Arizona pharmacy technician taking prescription from shelfHaving made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near FlorenceAZ, you might be thinking about how to pick the right school to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of future students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant concerns when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will need 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 advantages of online classes.

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The Duties of Pharmacy Technicians

Florence Arizona hospital pharmacy technician in lab coat

Pharmacy techs have multiple job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Florence AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician might perform are:

  • Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
  • Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
  • Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
  • Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
  • Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Stock shelves and audit and control inventory

As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting people with their health and wellness.

Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs

Florence Arizona pharmacy shelves with prescriptionsStudents desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Florence AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.

Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available

It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Florence AZ pharmacies will only employ a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:

  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
  • Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)

The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacist Technician Programs Online

Florence Arizona young female student taking pharmacy technician classes onlinePrior to choosing a pharmacist tech online training program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Florence pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to receive some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Florence AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, 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 training may be the right option for you.

Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Colleges

Once you have determined whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech schools to select from in the Florence AZ area and throughout the USA, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Florence residence. If you are willing to move 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 factors that you need to take into consideration in order to properly compare programs. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.

Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Florence AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.

Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech college should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.

Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Florence Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.

Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first position in Florence AZ after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a challenging task without some support. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Florence AZ residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide 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 typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Florence AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

More on How to Train to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Florence

Enroll in the Best Florence Pharmacy Tech School

Getting the best pharmacist tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech colleges include both classroom and clinical training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to select a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the appropriate education and dedication you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in Florence Arizona.



 

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