How to Pick the Best Pharmacy Technician Training Program Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Lake Havasu CityAZ, you may be wondering just how to choose the right school 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. A number of potential students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important concerns when selecting a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation should be evaluated as well. And if you prefer attending classes at home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because 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 since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. 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 occasionally having to work off-hours is a very gratifying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree and Certificate Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two alternatives to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Lake Havasu City AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Tech Available Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Lake Havasu City AZ employers will only employ a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Prior to choosing a pharmacist technician online school, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted 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 often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to acquire some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Lake Havasu City AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are reviewing 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 classes may be the right solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Courses
Once you have determined whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech programs to pick from in the Lake Havasu City AZ area and throughout the USA, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Lake Havasu City home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are many other variables that you should consider so that you may properly compare programs. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a complete quality education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, it might help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Lake Havasu City AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician college should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This requirement may be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Lake Havasu City Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial job in Lake Havasu City AZ upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging task without any help. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Lake Havasu City AZ residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. 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 attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Right Lake Havasu City Pharmacy Technician Program
Getting the right pharmacy tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to choose a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the right training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Lake Havasu City Arizona.