Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Avondale Arizona
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Avondale AZ, you might be pondering how to select the right school to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. When looking for pharmacy technician programs, many potential students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are significant factors when deciding on a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have various job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Avondale AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so 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 directed to the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Avondale AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Avondale AZ pharmacies 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 requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Before choosing a pharmacist tech online school, 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 setting. This is commonly satisfied in an area Avondale pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to acquire some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Avondale AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have determined whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician programs to choose from in the Avondale AZ area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Avondale residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other issues that you need to take into consideration in order to properly compare programs. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Avondale AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician school 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 condition may be met by taking part 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 through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Avondale AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial job in Avondale AZ after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any support. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Avondale AZ residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher 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 converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Avondale AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative 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 might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Avondale Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where helping people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech schools include both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the appropriate education and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Avondale Arizona.