How to Select the Right Pharmacy Technician College Near Florence Arizona
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near FlorenceAZ, you may be thinking about just how to select the best school to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of prospective students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important concerns when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers 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 tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Job of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have multiple job responsibilities, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Florence AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily tasks a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is a very satisfying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to becoming a tech 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 provide an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Florence AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and can lead 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.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs opt to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Florence AZ employers 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 applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Before selecting a pharmacist tech online program, it's important to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Florence pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Florence AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, especially for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online training might be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have determined whether you wish to obtain 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 schools to pick from in the Florence AZ area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Florence residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other issues that you need to take into consideration so that you may properly compare programs. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, it might help in getting 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 Florence AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician college needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Florence Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first position in Florence AZ upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult task without any help. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Florence AZ residence. Students who have decided 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 concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for 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 class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist tech college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Florence AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Florence Pharmacy Technician Program
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping customers with their health is your objective. In the past, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician schools incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the right education and dedication you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Florence Arizona.