How to Find the Best Pharmacist Tech Course Near Fountain Hills Arizona
Having decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Fountain HillsAZ, you might be wondering how to pick the ideal program to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of potential students begin by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated also. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of 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 discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Duties of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have many job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Fountain Hills AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medications 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 directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage 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 typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is a very satisfying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree and Certificate Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Fountain Hills AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Available Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many Fountain Hills AZ pharmacies will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Online Programs
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy tech online program, it's important to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in a local Fountain Hills pharmacy or health center through 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 balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Fountain Hills AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Technician Colleges
After you have determined whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist tech schools to pick from in the Fountain Hills AZ area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Fountain Hills residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other issues that you should consider in order to effectively compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among 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 certified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it might help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Fountain Hills AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician school should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This qualification can be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Fountain Hills Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial job in Fountain Hills AZ upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without any support. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Fountain Hills AZ home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble 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 choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need 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.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear 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 schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fountain Hills AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Best Fountain Hills Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the right pharmacist tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where helping people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech programs include both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a school 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 additional suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the right education and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Fountain Hills Arizona.