How to Pick the Best Pharmacy Technician Training Program Near Fountain Hills Arizona
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Fountain HillsAZ, you might be thinking about how to choose the right school to get your education and training. Naturally the first step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. A number of future students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical factors when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have many job functions, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Fountain Hills AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Fountain Hills AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about two 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 in the future. Either program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Fountain Hills AZ employers 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 requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, 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 examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Schools
Prior to choosing a pharmacist tech online program, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Fountain Hills pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to get some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Fountain Hills AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, especially for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Courses
After you have determined whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy technician schools to pick from in the Fountain Hills AZ area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Fountain Hills home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other factors that you need to take into consideration in order to adequately compare programs. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it can help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Fountain Hills 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 all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician program should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied 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 tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Fountain Hills Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Fountain Hills AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any help. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Fountain Hills AZ residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often 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 way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fountain Hills AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Fountain Hills Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the right pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where helping people with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech schools include both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to choose a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the right education and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Fountain Hills Arizona.