Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Choose the Right One Near Apache Junction Arizona
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Apache Junction AZ, you may be pondering how to select the right college to get your education and training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? When checking out pharmacy technician schools, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are important factors when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. You might also decide to look into several accredited online pharmacy tech 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 discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job responsibilities, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Apache Junction AZ pharmacist. They must also have good 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 a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Apache Junction AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Apache Junction AZ employers will only hire a technician 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 at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Colleges Online
Before selecting a pharmacist technician online program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Apache Junction pharmacy or hospital through 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 Apache Junction AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have determined whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician colleges to pick from in the Apache Junction AZ area and throughout the USA, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Apache Junction home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you need to take into consideration so that you may adequately compare schools. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Apache Junction 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 every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician school should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This qualification can be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Apache Junction AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Securing that initial job in Apache Junction AZ upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some help. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Apache Junction AZ residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Apache Junction AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Apache Junction Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the right pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where helping people with their health is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician programs include both classroom and clinical work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the right training and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Apache Junction Arizona.