How to Select the Right Pharmacy Technician Training Program Near Kingman Arizona
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near KingmanAZ, you may be pondering how to choose the best program to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job responsibilities, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Kingman AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily duties a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- 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 technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
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 becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Kingman AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Kingman AZ employers will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are two 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, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Schools Online
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in an area Kingman pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Kingman AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Courses
Once you have determined whether you would like to attain 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 numerous pharmacy tech colleges to pick from in the Kingman AZ area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Kingman home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are several other issues that you must consider so that you may effectively compare programs. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Make sure to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require 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 School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician school needs to ready 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 requirement may be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on 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 an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Kingman Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that initial job in Kingman AZ after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting task without any support. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Kingman AZ residence. Those who have decided 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 concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist technician school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important 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 certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Kingman Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the ideal pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting customers with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician schools include both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary 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 follow our additional tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the right education and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Kingman Arizona.