How to Pick the Best Pharmacy Tech Course Near Flowing Wells Arizona
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Flowing WellsAZ, you may be pondering how to choose the best program to receive your education and training. Of course the initial step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. Many prospective students start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are critical concerns when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. And if you are interested in studying in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Function of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have many job duties, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Flowing Wells AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer information 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 control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals wishing 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 alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Flowing Wells AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Available Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Flowing Wells AZ employers will only hire 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 candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished 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 required every two years by each program, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Online Schools
Prior to selecting a pharmacist technician online program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in a local Flowing Wells pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Flowing Wells AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have determined whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician programs to choose from in the Flowing Wells AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast 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 commuting distance from your Flowing Wells residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are many other variables that you need to take into consideration so that you may properly compare programs. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Flowing Wells AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This requirement can be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Flowing Wells Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in Flowing Wells AZ upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any help. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Flowing Wells AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Flowing Wells AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Flowing Wells Pharmacy Technician Course
Getting the right pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where helping people with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists 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. Most pharmacist tech colleges include both classroom and clinical training. 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 is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the proper education and dedication you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in Flowing Wells Arizona.