How to Find the Right Pharmacy Tech College Near Gilbert Arizona
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near GilbertAZ, you may be thinking about how to choose the right school to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. Many future students start by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Gilbert AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the common daily duties a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians 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 sometimes being required to work after hours is a very fulfilling career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Gilbert AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs choose to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Gilbert AZ pharmacies will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide 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 at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Schools Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacist tech online training program, it's important to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in a local Gilbert pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Gilbert AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Colleges
After you have decided whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician colleges to pick from in the Gilbert AZ area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Gilbert residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are many other issues that you must consider so that you may effectively compare schools. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician programs and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional 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 verified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Be 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 make sure that you get a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Gilbert AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement may be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Gilbert Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial job in Gilbert AZ after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some help. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Gilbert AZ home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something 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 often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy tech college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Gilbert AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Gilbert Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the right pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist technicians 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 trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech schools include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the right education and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Gilbert Arizona.