How to Pick the Right Pharmacy Tech College Near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Fortuna FoothillsAZ, you might be thinking about how to choose the ideal college to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate 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 significant factors when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated as well. And if you prefer studying in your home by means 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 cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have various job responsibilities, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacies will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, 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 mandated every 2 years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy tech online college, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Fortuna Foothills pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to get some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Fortuna Foothills AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Tech Schools
Once you have determined whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician colleges to select from in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Fortuna Foothills home. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are several other factors that you should consider in order to adequately compare schools. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacies 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 every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This qualification can be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Fortuna Foothills Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that initial job in Fortuna Foothills AZ after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some support. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Fortuna Foothills AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable 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 prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy tech program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area, check 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 need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Fortuna Foothills Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the best pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech programs include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the right education and determination you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in Fortuna Foothills Arizona.