How to Select the Right Pharmacist Technician School Near Fort Mohave Arizona
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Fort MohaveAZ, you may be wondering just how to choose the ideal college 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 future students start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant factors when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated also. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have many job duties, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Fort Mohave AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily duties a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very gratifying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Fort Mohave AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Fort Mohave AZ pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 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 completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Online Colleges
Before selecting a pharmacy technician online program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in a local Fort Mohave pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Fort Mohave AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials can be decreased significantly. 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 confirm that any online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, 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 instruction might be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have decided whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech colleges to choose from in the Fort Mohave AZ area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Fort Mohave residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other issues that you should take into consideration in order to properly compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Make sure to verify that the certificate or degree program together with the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it might assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Fort Mohave AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist tech school needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement may be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Fort Mohave Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Fort Mohave AZ after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some assistance. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent 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 graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Fort Mohave AZ home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously 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 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fort Mohave AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. 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 Fort Mohave Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the ideal pharmacy technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech schools incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to choose a program 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 other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the proper education and commitment you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in Fort Mohave Arizona.