How to Select the Right Pharmacy Tech Training Program Near Green Valley Arizona
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Green ValleyAZ, you might be thinking about how to choose the best college to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. Many future students start by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant concerns when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be evaluated as well. And if you prefer attending classes in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing 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 advantages of online courses.
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The Job of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Green Valley AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 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 certificate or a diploma, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Green Valley AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally requires 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 down the road. Each program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Green Valley AZ employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 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, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist technician online training program, it's important to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in an area Green Valley pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to acquire some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Green Valley AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, notably for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Courses
Once you have determined whether you would like to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist technician colleges to pick from in the Green Valley AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Green Valley home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are several other variables that you should consider so that you may adequately compare colleges. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it might assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many Green Valley AZ pharmacies 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 all states, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech program should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This condition may be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Green Valley Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first position in Green Valley AZ upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some help. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Green Valley AZ home. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Green Valley AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Green Valley Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the best pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech schools incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to choose a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the right education and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Green Valley Arizona.