How to Pick the Right Pharmacy Tech Course Near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Fortuna FoothillsAZ, you might be wondering how to choose the ideal program to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. A number of prospective students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical concerns when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be evaluated also. And if you prefer attending classes in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be included in 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 certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have numerous job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature 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 reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacies will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Colleges
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy tech online college, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in an area Fortuna Foothills pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Fortuna Foothills AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the ideal choice for you.
Points 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 start to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Fortuna Foothills residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are several other factors that you should consider so that you may properly compare schools. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacist Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a complete quality education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it might assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This qualification can be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Fortuna Foothills Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial job in Fortuna Foothills AZ upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some support. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Fortuna Foothills AZ home. Those who have decided to attend online classes 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 bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 Big 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 probably want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist technician program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Fortuna Foothills Pharmacy Technician Program
Finding the ideal pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their health is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech programs incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to select a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the proper education and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Fortuna Foothills Arizona.