How to Find the Right Pharmacy Technician College Near Marana Arizona
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near MaranaAZ, you may be pondering how to choose the ideal program to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many prospective students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant factors when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated as well. And if you prefer attending classes in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Function of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have multiple job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Marana AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily duties a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work after hours is a very satisfying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 options to training to be 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 present an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Marana AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Marana AZ employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Before deciding on a pharmacist technician online college, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Marana pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Marana AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Courses
Once you have decided whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician colleges to pick from in the Marana AZ area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Marana residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are several other issues that you should consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations 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 colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Marana AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of employers desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This condition can be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech 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 School Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that first position in Marana AZ after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without some support. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Marana AZ home. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Marana AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Marana Pharmacy Technician Program
Finding the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician colleges incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to select a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate education and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Marana Arizona.