How to Select the Right Pharmacy Tech Course Near Glendale Arizona
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near GlendaleAZ, you might be wondering just how to select the best college to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. Many future students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important factors when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be considered also. And if you prefer attending classes in your home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have various job duties, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Glendale AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is a very gratifying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two 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 offer an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Glendale AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Available Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools choose to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Glendale 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 requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Classes
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy tech online training program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in an area Glendale pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to get some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Glendale AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have determined whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy tech schools to select from in the Glendale AZ area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Glendale residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you must consider in order to effectively compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Glendale AZ pharmacies 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 mandated in every state, but a number of employers prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician program needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on 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 fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Glendale Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial job in Glendale AZ after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult task without any help. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Glendale AZ home. Students who have chosen 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 bear 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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 sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist tech college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Glendale AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Glendale Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the ideal pharmacist tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech schools incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to choose a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the proper education and commitment you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Glendale Arizona.