Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Anthem Arizona
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Anthem AZ in order to receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding field of medicine. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are important factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation must be evaluated also. You might also decide to research several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy techs have various job duties, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Anthem AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily duties a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very rewarding career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree 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 2 options 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 usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Anthem AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to get certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Anthem AZ employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, 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 graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Before choosing a pharmacist tech online program, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in an area Anthem pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Anthem AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have determined whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Anthem AZ area and throughout the United States, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Anthem home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are many other issues that you should take into consideration so that you may properly compare programs. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and vocational 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 screened and certified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it might help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Anthem AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech program should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This requirement may be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with Anthem AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Anthem AZ upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult task without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Anthem AZ home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes 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 keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical 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 some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy tech college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Anthem AZ area, check 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 have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Anthem Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where helping people with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech programs include both classroom and clinical training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the right education and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Anthem Arizona.