How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacist Technician College Near Goodyear Arizona
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near GoodyearAZ, you may be wondering how to select the right program to receive your education and training. Of course the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of potential students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important concerns when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Job of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Goodyear AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily services a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is a very rewarding career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be accomplished 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 include an internship at an accepted Goodyear AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Goodyear AZ employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that offer 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 finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Colleges
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online training program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Goodyear pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Goodyear AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online training may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Technician Courses
After you have determined whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy tech schools to pick from in the Goodyear AZ area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Goodyear residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other issues that you need to consider in order to effectively compare programs. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it might help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training 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 Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This condition can be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Goodyear Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Finding that initial job in Goodyear AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult task without some help. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Goodyear AZ home. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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 are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. 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, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Right Goodyear Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the right pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their health is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were taught "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. A large number of pharmacist technician colleges include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the proper education and commitment you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in Goodyear Arizona.