How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacist Tech College Near Marana Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near MaranaAZ, you might be thinking about just how to pick the ideal school to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. Many future students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant concerns when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. And if you are interested in studying in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college 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 take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Job of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have multiple job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Marana AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily duties a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree and Certificate Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Marana AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive 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 Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools opt to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Marana AZ pharmacies will only hire 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 applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online school, it's important to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in a local Marana pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Marana 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 schools are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Schools
After you have determined whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy tech colleges to pick from in the Marana AZ area and throughout the USA, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Marana residence. If you are willing to move 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 programs. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Marana AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This qualification can be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied through 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 certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Marana Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Marana AZ upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any support. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Marana AZ residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist tech college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Marana AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Marana Pharmacy Technician School
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where helping people with their health is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the appropriate education and dedication you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Marana Arizona.