How to Find the Best Pharmacist Tech Course Near Glendale Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near GlendaleAZ, you may be thinking about how to select the ideal program to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many prospective students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important concerns when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and 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 advantages of online programs.
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The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have multiple job functions, 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 excellent customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever give medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is a very gratifying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Glendale AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Glendale AZ employers will only hire a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer 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 at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Colleges
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online program, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Glendale pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to obtain some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Glendale AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check 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 disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Colleges
Once you have decided whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech programs to select from in the Glendale AZ area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Glendale 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 many other variables that you need to take into consideration in order to adequately compare schools. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacist Tech College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies 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 only with online or distance education. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might 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 College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech school should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This condition can be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Glendale Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in Glendale AZ upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some help. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance 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 demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Glendale AZ residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide 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 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 Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering 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 final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Glendale AZ area, make certain 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 due to illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Best Glendale Pharmacy Tech Course
Receiving the right pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where helping customers with their health is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician programs include both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to select a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the appropriate education and determination you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Glendale Arizona.