How to Find the Best Pharmacist Tech Program Near Florence Arizona
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech 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 locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are critical factors when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. And if you prefer attending classes in your home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing 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 classes.
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The Duties of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have multiple job functions, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Florence AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily duties a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out 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 evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 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 typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Florence AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two 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. Each program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Florence AZ employers will only employ a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that offer 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 finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Classes Online
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in an area Florence pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Florence AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Courses
Once you have decided whether you wish to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy tech programs to pick from in the Florence AZ area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Florence residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other issues that you should consider so that you may effectively compare programs. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies 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 colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it may help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Florence AZ employers 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 mandated in every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech program should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This condition may be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Florence Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Florence AZ upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some support. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Florence AZ home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy tech school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Florence AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Florence Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the right pharmacist technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both classroom and laboratory 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 applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the proper training and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Florence Arizona.