How to Find the Best Pharmacist Technician School Near Florence Arizona
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near FlorenceAZ, you may be pondering just how to pick the right school to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of potential students begin by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be evaluated also. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover 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 tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Duties of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have numerous job functions, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Florence AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. 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 fulfilling career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 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 usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Florence AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Florence AZ employers will only employ a tech 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 applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year 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 may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online training program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area Florence pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to get some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Florence AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any 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 structured form of education, then online classes might be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Programs
Once you have decided whether you wish to obtain 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 options. There are a large number of pharmacist technician colleges to choose from in the Florence AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed 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 able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other variables that you need to consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified 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 education. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it can help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Florence AZ employers 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 every state, but many employers desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech school should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This condition can be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which may be met by means of 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 technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the programs have associations with Florence Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Florence AZ after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any assistance. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Florence AZ home. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Florence AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Florence Pharmacy Technician School
Finding the best pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician programs include both classroom and clinical work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the proper education and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Florence Arizona.