How to Pick the Best Pharmacy Technician Program Near Green Valley Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Green ValleyAZ, you may be thinking about how to select the best program to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of future students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important concerns when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. And if you prefer attending classes in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and 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 Tech
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job functions, but their principal duty 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 skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the common daily functions a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone 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
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very rewarding career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 options to training to be a technician regardless if 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 lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Green Valley AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required 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. Each program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Green Valley AZ employers will only hire 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 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 mandated every two years by each program, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Colleges Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacist technician online program, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in a local Green Valley pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to receive some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Green Valley AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech programs to pick from in the Green Valley AZ area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Green Valley home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other variables that you should take into consideration so that you may adequately compare programs. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Make sure to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Green Valley AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many employers prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This qualification can be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of 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 technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Green Valley Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Green Valley AZ after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting task without some help. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Green Valley AZ residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern 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 decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist technician school you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial 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, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Green Valley Pharmacy Technician Course
Finding the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the right training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Green Valley Arizona.