How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacy Technician Course Near Gilbert Arizona
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near GilbertAZ, you might be pondering just how to choose the best college to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. Many future students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical concerns when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be evaluated as well. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing 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 Responsibilities of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have various job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Gilbert 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 preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit 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 very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is a very gratifying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Gilbert AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Gilbert AZ pharmacies will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two 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, has graduated from high school, has finished 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 required every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Colleges
Before deciding on a pharmacist technician online training program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in an area Gilbert pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Gilbert AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 classes might be the best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Courses
Once you have determined whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist technician colleges to select from in the Gilbert AZ area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Gilbert residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are several other variables that you need to consider in order to properly compare colleges. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it might help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Gilbert AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of employers prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech school should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on 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 Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with 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 tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Gilbert Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first position in Gilbert AZ upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some help. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Gilbert AZ residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online 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 keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist tech school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Gilbert AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Gilbert Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the ideal pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician programs include both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to select a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the proper education and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Gilbert Arizona.