How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacist Tech Program Near Goodyear Arizona
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near GoodyearAZ, you may be pondering how to pick the best school to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. Many prospective students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have many job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Goodyear 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 filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever give medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily duties a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Students 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 options to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Goodyear AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician 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 in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Goodyear AZ employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacist technician online school, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Goodyear pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to obtain some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Goodyear AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are looking at 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 formal type of education, then online training might be the right solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have decided whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, 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 many pharmacist tech programs to select from in the Goodyear AZ area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Goodyear home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other issues that you must consider in order to adequately compare programs. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among 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 provide a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Make sure to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it can help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Goodyear AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech college should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This condition can be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires 1 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 technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Goodyear Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Securing that initial job in Goodyear AZ after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without some help. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Goodyear AZ residence. Students who have opted 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 consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Goodyear AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check 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 might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Goodyear Pharmacy Tech Course
Getting the ideal pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where helping people with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician colleges include both classroom and clinical training. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to select a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the proper training and determination you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Goodyear Arizona.