How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacist Tech Course Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Lake Havasu CityAZ, you may be thinking about just how to select the best program to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many future students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and 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 certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Job of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have many job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Lake Havasu City AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very satisfying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two options to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Lake Havasu City AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Lake Havasu City AZ employers will only hire a technician that is certified. 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 completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacist technician online training program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Lake Havasu City pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to get some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Lake Havasu City AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have decided whether you wish 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 options. There are numerous pharmacist technician schools to pick from in the Lake Havasu City AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Lake Havasu City home. 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 a number of other issues that you need to consider in order to properly compare programs. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program 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 Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist tech program should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the programs have associations with Lake Havasu City Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first position in Lake Havasu City AZ upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without any support. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will have 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 trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing 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 usually 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 student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing 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 final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose 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 enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Lake Havasu City Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the right pharmacist tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician colleges include both clinical and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the proper education and dedication you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Lake Havasu City Arizona.