How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacy Tech Program Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Lake Havasu CityAZ, you might be thinking about how to pick the best college to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. And if you prefer studying in your home in front 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 cover these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Duties of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have various job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Lake Havasu City AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily functions a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications 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 on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is a very rewarding career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Lake Havasu City AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Lake Havasu City AZ employers will only employ a technician that is certified. 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, be a high school graduate, has completed 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 exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Schools Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy tech online training program, it's important to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in an area Lake Havasu City pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to receive some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Lake Havasu City AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Courses
Once you have decided whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech colleges to select from in the Lake Havasu City AZ area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Lake Havasu City residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are many other issues that you must take into consideration in order to effectively compare programs. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and vocational 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). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the school 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 may assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Lake Havasu City AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech college needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This qualification may be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech 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 satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Lake Havasu City Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial job in Lake Havasu City AZ after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult task without some support. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, ask 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 contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Lake Havasu City AZ residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Lake Havasu City AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Lake Havasu City Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician programs include both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to enroll in 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 additional suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the right education and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Lake Havasu City Arizona.