How to Choose the Best Pharmacy Tech College Near Green Valley Arizona
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Green ValleyAZ, you may be wondering how to choose the right school to receive your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many future students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical factors when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Job of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy techs have various job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Green Valley AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, 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 typical daily tasks a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very satisfying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Green Valley AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Green Valley AZ pharmacies will only employ a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate 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 only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Schools
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online college, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in an area Green Valley pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your Green Valley AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online training might be the best solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician schools to choose 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 colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Green Valley home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are several other issues that you must consider in order to adequately compare schools. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Green Valley AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech school needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This qualification may be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical 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 a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Green Valley Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Green Valley AZ after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting task without some support. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Green Valley AZ residence. Students who have opted 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 importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist tech school you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Green Valley AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Right Green Valley Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech programs include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate education and determination you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Green Valley Arizona.