How to Pick the Best Pharmacy Tech School Near Green Valley Arizona
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Green ValleyAZ, you may be wondering just how to select the right school to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. A number of potential students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving 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. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have many job responsibilities, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Green Valley AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings 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 an extremely satisfying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degree and Certificate Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Green Valley AZ pharmacy or similar 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 offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs choose to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Green Valley AZ pharmacies will only employ a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Programs
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Green Valley pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Green Valley AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, especially for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are looking at 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 formal type of education, then online classes might be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Schools
Once you have decided whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech programs to select from in the Green Valley AZ area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Green Valley residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are several other variables that you should take into consideration in order to effectively compare schools. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Make sure to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it might help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate 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 School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech program needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This condition can be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which can be met with 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 degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Green Valley Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that initial job in Green Valley AZ after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging task without some support. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Green Valley AZ residence. 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 local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing 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 final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy tech college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Green Valley AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Green Valley Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the ideal pharmacist technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician schools incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to select a college 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 follow our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the proper education and determination you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in Green Valley Arizona.