How to Pick the Best Pharmacy Technician Course Near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Fortuna FoothillsAZ, you may be wondering just how to pick the right program to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in 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 tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Enter 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 monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians 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 payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives 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 normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Available Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacies will only employ 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 candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Colleges
Prior to selecting a pharmacy tech online school, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Fortuna Foothills pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Fortuna Foothills AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Colleges
Once you have determined whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacy tech programs to choose from in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Fortuna Foothills residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other factors that you must take into consideration so that you may properly compare programs. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of 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 furnish a complete superior education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it might help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Fortuna Foothills AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This condition may be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Fortuna Foothills Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Finding that first job in Fortuna Foothills AZ upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some support. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Fortuna Foothills AZ residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area, check that they are offered. 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 need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Fortuna Foothills Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacist technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to choose a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the proper education and determination you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in Fortuna Foothills Arizona.