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How to Choose the Best Pharmacy Technician School Near Glendale Arizona

Glendale Arizona pharmacy tech taking prescription from shelfHaving decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near GlendaleAZ, you might be wondering how to pick the right college to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. Many potential students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant factors when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.

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The Role of a Pharmacy Tech

Glendale Arizona hospital pharmacy technician wearing lab coat

Pharmacy techs have multiple job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Glendale AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help 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 prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician might perform are:

  • Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
  • Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
  • Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
  • Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
  • Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory

As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping people with their health and well-being.

Pharmacy Technician Degrees

Glendale Arizona pharmacy shelves with prescriptionsIndividuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two alternatives to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Glendale AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.

Pharmacist Tech Certifications Offered

It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Glendale AZ pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:

  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
  • Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)

The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacist Tech Online Schools

Glendale Arizona young woman taking pharmacy tech courses onlinePrior to choosing a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Glendale pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Glendale AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course 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 important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training might be the ideal solution for you.

Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Courses

After you have determined whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist tech programs to choose from in the Glendale AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Glendale residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are several other factors that you need to take into consideration so that you may properly compare programs. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.

Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have earned 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 evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Glendale AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.

Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech school needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.

Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician 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, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.

Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Glendale AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some support. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Glendale AZ residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist tech program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Glendale AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check 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 might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.

More on How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Glendale

Enroll in the Best Glendale Pharmacy Technician School

Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician schools include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a program that is accredited and will prep 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 compare schools so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate education and dedication you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Glendale Arizona.



 

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