How to Find the Best Pharmacist Tech College Near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Fortuna FoothillsAZ, you may be thinking about how to select the right college to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. Many future students begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important factors when deciding on a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. And if you prefer attending classes in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Duties of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have numerous job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Available Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs choose to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacies will only hire a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that provide 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 at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Schools
Prior to selecting a pharmacy tech online school, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Fortuna Foothills pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to get some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Fortuna Foothills AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may 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 important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as 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 option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Programs
Once you have decided whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech schools to choose from in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Fortuna Foothills residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other factors that you need to consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs 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). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you get a superior education, it may assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Fortuna Foothills AZ employers 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 many employers desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech program should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Fortuna Foothills Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that first position in Fortuna Foothills AZ upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult task without any assistance. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Fortuna Foothills AZ residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. 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 speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy tech college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area, make sure 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 enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Best Fortuna Foothills Pharmacy Technician Program
Finding the ideal pharmacist tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a gratifying profession where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech schools include both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the proper training and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Fortuna Foothills Arizona.