How to Pick the Right Pharmacy Technician Course Near Marana Arizona
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near MaranaAZ, you may be thinking about just how to choose the ideal school to get your education and training. Of course 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 schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be evaluated also. And if you are interested in attending classes at 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 address these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Job of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have many job duties, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Marana AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is a very gratifying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech 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 essentially 2 options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Marana AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Available Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to get certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Marana AZ pharmacies will only employ a technician that has earned certification. 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 at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Schools
Prior to selecting a pharmacist tech online college, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in a local Marana pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to obtain some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Marana AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, notably for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online classes might be the best solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Courses
Once you have decided whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy technician programs to pick from in the Marana AZ area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Marana home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other factors that you need to consider so that you may adequately compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it might help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Marana AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician school needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This requirement may be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled 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 degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Marana Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial job in Marana AZ upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting task without any support. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Marana AZ home. Those who have opted to attend classes online 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 consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy tech program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Marana AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Marana Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the right pharmacist tech training is an important first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the appropriate training and determination you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Marana Arizona.