How to Select the Best Pharmacist Technician Training Program Near Glendale Arizona
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near GlendaleAZ, you may be thinking about how to choose the best program to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. A number of potential students start by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when reviewing 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.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Job of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have many job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Glendale AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily functions a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- 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
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very satisfying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 alternatives to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Glendale AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Glendale AZ employers will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, 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 applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacist technician online program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Glendale pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Glendale AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the right solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Courses
After you have determined whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy tech colleges to select from in the Glendale AZ area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Glendale home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are many other factors that you need to consider so that you may properly compare programs. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program together with the college 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 may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Glendale AZ employers 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 required in every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech program should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This condition can be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Glendale Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Glendale AZ upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some help. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Glendale AZ residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want 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 opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy technician program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Glendale AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Glendale Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the best pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician schools incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to select a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the right training and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Glendale Arizona.