How to Select the Best Pharmacist Technician Training Program Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Lake Havasu CityAZ, you might be wondering just how to pick the ideal college to receive your education and training. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many future students start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are critical factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have multiple job functions, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Lake Havasu City AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech 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 generally 2 alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Lake Havasu City AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about two years of studies. Although not required 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. Either program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Lake Havasu City AZ employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Before selecting a pharmacist technician online 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 a local Lake Havasu City pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Lake Havasu City AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Colleges
After you have determined whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician colleges to pick from in the Lake Havasu City AZ area and throughout the USA, so you must create 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 colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Lake Havasu City home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other issues that you must take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected 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 quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Lake Havasu City AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of employers desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech school needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This condition may be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Lake Havasu City Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Lake Havasu City AZ after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting task without any help. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Lake Havasu City AZ residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist tech school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Lake Havasu City AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Lake Havasu City Pharmacy Tech Course
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their health is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to choose a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the right training and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Lake Havasu City Arizona.