How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacist Technician Program Near Maricopa Arizona
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near MaricopaAZ, you might be thinking about how to pick the best school to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many prospective students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical factors when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. And if you are interested in studying at home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, 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 Responsibilities of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy techs have various job functions, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Maricopa AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions 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 techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is a very fulfilling career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Maricopa AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many Maricopa AZ employers will only employ a tech that is certified. There are 2 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, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Online Schools
Prior to choosing a pharmacist technician online program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Maricopa pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to receive some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Maricopa AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online classes might be the ideal solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have decided whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy tech colleges to select from in the Maricopa AZ area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Maricopa home. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are several other variables that you should take into consideration in order to adequately compare schools. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a complete quality education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Maricopa AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This condition may be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Maricopa Arizona area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Maricopa AZ upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some support. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand 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 a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Maricopa AZ home. Those who have decided 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 bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Maricopa AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Maricopa Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the appropriate education and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Maricopa Arizona.