How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacy Tech College Near Goodyear Arizona
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near GoodyearAZ, you might be wondering how to choose the right college to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of potential students start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant factors when selecting a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated also. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Job of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have various job responsibilities, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Goodyear AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two options to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Goodyear AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed 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. Each program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Goodyear AZ pharmacies 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 applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Schools Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacist technician online school, it's important to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in an area Goodyear pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your Goodyear AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online programs are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any 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 disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Courses
After you have decided whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy technician programs to select from in the Goodyear AZ area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Goodyear residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are several other issues that you need to take into consideration in order to adequately compare programs. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require 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 Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician school needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This qualification can be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work 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 satisfy the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Goodyear Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Goodyear AZ after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without any help. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Goodyear AZ home. Those who have chosen 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 concern. One thing to keep 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of 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 undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes permit 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 prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist technician college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Goodyear AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Goodyear Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacist tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician colleges include both classroom and clinical training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the right training and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Goodyear Arizona.