How to Select the Best Pharmacy Technician Training Program Near Flowing Wells Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Flowing WellsAZ, you may be pondering just how to select the right college to receive your education and training. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. A number of prospective students begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical concerns when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have many job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Flowing Wells AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily duties a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is a very rewarding career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Flowing Wells AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs opt to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Flowing Wells AZ pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires 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 professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacist technician online training program, it's important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Flowing Wells pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to obtain some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Flowing Wells AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive 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 program you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online classes may be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Courses
Once you have determined whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician colleges to select from in the Flowing Wells AZ area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Flowing Wells residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are several other issues that you should consider in order to effectively compare programs. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you get a superior education, it might assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Flowing Wells AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech school needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the schools have associations with Flowing Wells Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial job in Flowing Wells AZ upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any support. Find out 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 an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Flowing Wells AZ residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry 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 school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak 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 finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Flowing Wells AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours 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 Right Flowing Wells Pharmacy Technician Program
Receiving the right pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician schools include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to select a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the appropriate training and dedication you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Flowing Wells Arizona.