Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Pick the Best One Near Avondale Arizona
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Avondale AZ, you might be pondering how to select the best college to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant factors when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. You might also decide to take a look at some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifiers 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 technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy techs have many job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Avondale AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is a very gratifying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Avondale AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Avondale AZ pharmacies will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Colleges
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in a local Avondale pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to get some real world experience. Fortunately 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 many students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have decided whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Avondale AZ area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Avondale residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other issues that you must consider in order to properly compare programs. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Most pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Avondale AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job 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 professional experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Avondale AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Avondale AZ after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any help. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Avondale AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist technician school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Avondale AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Avondale Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a fulfilling profession where helping people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech schools incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to select a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the appropriate training and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Avondale Arizona.