How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacy Technician Course Near Fountain Hills Arizona
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Fountain HillsAZ, you might be pondering just how to select the ideal program to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many future students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical factors when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying 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 cover these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Duties of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have many job functions, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Fountain Hills AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily tasks a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work after hours is a very satisfying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree and Certificate Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Fountain Hills AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Fountain Hills AZ pharmacies will only employ 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 at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Schools Online
Before selecting a pharmacy technician online college, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in an area Fountain Hills pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Fountain Hills AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Programs
Once you have decided whether you wish to attain 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 a large number of pharmacist technician colleges to select from in the Fountain Hills AZ area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Fountain Hills home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other issues that you must take into consideration in order to effectively compare colleges. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacist Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training 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 a number of employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician school needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This condition may be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Fountain Hills Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first position in Fountain Hills AZ upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting task without some help. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Fountain Hills AZ home. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program 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 generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Fountain Hills AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Best Fountain Hills Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the right pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician schools include both clinical and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the right training and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Fountain Hills Arizona.