Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Pick the Best One Near Anthem Arizona
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Anthem AZ in order to receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? When looking for pharmacy technician programs, many potential students begin by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important concerns when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be evaluated also. You might also choose to research several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing 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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Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have multiple job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Anthem AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is an extremely fulfilling career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Anthem AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about two 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 should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Anthem AZ employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy tech online college, 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 typically fulfilled in a local Anthem pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to obtain some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Anthem AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, especially for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have decided whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are many pharmacy technician programs to select from in the Anthem AZ area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs 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 critical. But there are a number of other variables that you should take into consideration in order to effectively compare programs. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you get a superior education, it may help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Anthem AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Anthem AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Anthem AZ upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some help. Find out if the schools you are looking at 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 field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on 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 local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Anthem AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Anthem Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech programs incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the right education and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Anthem Arizona.