How to Find the Best Pharmacy Technician School Near Kingman Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near KingmanAZ, you might be thinking about how to choose the right school to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. A number of future students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical factors when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. And if you prefer attending classes at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing 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 a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Kingman AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily functions a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor 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 very common, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab 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 takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs opt to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Kingman AZ employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer 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 one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online college, it's important to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in a local Kingman pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to obtain some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed over the internet in your Kingman AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical 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 confirm that any online program you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 classes might be the right solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Technician Programs
Once you have determined whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy tech colleges to select from in the Kingman AZ area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Kingman home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are several other variables that you should take into consideration so that you may properly compare schools. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacist Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and vocational 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). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance 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. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it might help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Kingman AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. 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 College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire 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 meet the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Kingman Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial job in Kingman AZ after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some assistance. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Kingman 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 concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. 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 instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Kingman AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Kingman Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech programs incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the appropriate education and commitment you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Kingman Arizona.