Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Anthem Arizona
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Anthem AZ, you might be wondering how to choose the right program to receive your education and training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many future students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical factors when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. You might also choose to research some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will want to include when reviewing 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 benefits of online programs.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have many job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Anthem AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily duties a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Anthem AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools opt to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Anthem AZ employers will only hire a tech that has earned certification. 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, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online training program, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Anthem pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to acquire some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet 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 earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech programs to pick from in the Anthem AZ area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Anthem home. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other issues that you must consider so that you may properly compare programs. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges 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). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered 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 earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous employers desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician college should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Anthem AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in Anthem AZ upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without any support. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Anthem AZ residence. Those who have chosen 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 keep 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes enable 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 sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist technician program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Anthem AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify 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 may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Anthem Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the right pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician programs include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the right training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Anthem Arizona.