Pharmacy Tech School
How to Pick the Right One Near Avondale Arizona
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Avondale AZ in order to get the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? When checking out pharmacy technician schools, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are critical concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. You may also choose to research some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have various job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Avondale AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since 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 must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily duties a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, 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 lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is a very rewarding career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Avondale AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Avondale AZ employers will only employ a technician that is certified. There are 2 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, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional 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 can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online training program, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Avondale pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Avondale AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged 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 training might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have determined whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy technician schools to pick from in the Avondale AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Avondale home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other issues that you must take into consideration in order to adequately compare schools. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance 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 Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician program needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This condition may be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Avondale AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Avondale AZ upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting task without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, ask 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 signifies that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Avondale AZ residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy technician school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Avondale AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Avondale Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the right pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to select a school 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 follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the right education and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Avondale Arizona.