How to Choose the Right Pharmacist Technician Program Near Goodyear Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near GoodyearAZ, you might be pondering how to pick the right school to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. Many future students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant concerns when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some 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 certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have various job functions, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Goodyear AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily duties a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out 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 most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very satisfying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually 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 normally involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Goodyear AZ pharmacies will only employ a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that provide 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 one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online school, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in a local Goodyear pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to receive some work place 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 convenient for many students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance 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 choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Courses
Once you have decided whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician schools to select from in the Goodyear AZ area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Goodyear home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you must take into consideration so that you may effectively compare programs. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have earned a regional or national 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 superior education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Goodyear 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 a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech program needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This requirement may be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Goodyear Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Goodyear AZ upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some help. Ask 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 school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Goodyear AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program 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 often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student 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 speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy tech college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Goodyear AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Goodyear Pharmacy Technician Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacist tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to choose a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the right training and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Goodyear Arizona.