How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacist Technician Course Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Lake Havasu CityAZ, you may be pondering just how to select the ideal college to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. Many future students begin by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant factors when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will want 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 Function of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Lake Havasu City AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily duties a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two options to training to be a technician whether 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 introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Lake Havasu City AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Lake Havasu City AZ pharmacies will only hire a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed 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 exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist tech online college, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in a local Lake Havasu City pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Lake Havasu City AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online school you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the best solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Schools
After you have decided 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 begin to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Lake Havasu City AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources 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 school, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you need to consider in order to properly compare schools. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Make sure to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it might help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program 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 College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This condition can be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Lake Havasu City Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in Lake Havasu City AZ after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some assistance. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Lake Havasu City AZ residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician school you finally select can provide 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 Lake Havasu City AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Lake Havasu City Pharmacy Tech Course
Receiving the ideal pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their health is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to enroll in a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the appropriate education and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Lake Havasu City Arizona.