How to Pick the Best Pharmacy Technician College Near Kingman Arizona
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near KingmanAZ, you may be thinking about just how to choose the right program to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. Many prospective students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are critical factors when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation must be evaluated also. And if you are interested in studying at home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will want 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 advantages of online programs.
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The Function of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have multiple job duties, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Kingman AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly 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 fulfilling career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Kingman AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Kingman AZ employers will only employ a technician that is certified. 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, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only 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 fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Colleges
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy tech online training program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in a local Kingman pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Kingman AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are reviewing 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 supervised form of education, then online training may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have decided whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacist tech programs to choose from in the Kingman AZ area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Kingman home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other factors that you must take into consideration in order to properly compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you get a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Kingman AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician school needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This condition may be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the schools have associations with Kingman Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in Kingman AZ upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting task without some help. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Kingman AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry 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 decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy tech school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Kingman 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 courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Best Kingman Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the ideal pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where helping people with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true 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 evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the appropriate training and dedication you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in Kingman Arizona.