How to Pick the Right Pharmacist Technician Training Program Near Gilbert Arizona
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near GilbertAZ, you may be thinking about how to pick the right program to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. A number of 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 significant concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. And if you are interested in studying at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Duties of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job responsibilities, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Gilbert AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever give medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily duties a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Add 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 manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely satisfying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 options to becoming a tech 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 finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted 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 provide a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Gilbert 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 at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Before selecting a pharmacist tech online training program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Gilbert pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Gilbert AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as 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 right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have decided whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy tech schools to pick from in the Gilbert AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Gilbert home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other issues that you should take into consideration so that you may adequately compare colleges. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacist Tech College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a complete superior education. Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program together with the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many 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 mandated in all states, but a number of employers prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This qualification can be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the programs have associations with Gilbert Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Gilbert AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any assistance. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing 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 an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Gilbert AZ residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical 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 a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Gilbert AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Gilbert Pharmacy Technician Program
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where helping people with their health is your objective. In the past, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to choose a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the appropriate education and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Gilbert Arizona.