How to Select the Best Pharmacy Technician Course Near Florence Arizona
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near FlorenceAZ, you may be pondering just how to choose the right program to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. A number of prospective students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical factors when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation must be evaluated also. And if you prefer attending classes in your home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, 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 Duties of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have various job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Florence AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily services a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is a very rewarding career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Florence AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally involves 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 can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Available Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs opt to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Florence AZ employers will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Classes Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist technician online training program, it's important to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in a local Florence pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to obtain 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 many students, especially for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online program you are considering 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 formal type of education, then online instruction might be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Programs
Once you have decided whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician schools to pick from in the Florence AZ area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting 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 important. But there are a number of other variables that you need to consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a complete quality education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it might assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Florence AZ pharmacies 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 technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician college should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Florence Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Florence AZ upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult task without some help. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Florence AZ home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area 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 perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on 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 opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Florence AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Florence Pharmacy Tech Course
Getting the right pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech schools incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. 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 online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate training and determination you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in Florence Arizona.