Pharmacy Tech College
How to Enroll In the Best One Near Bullhead City Arizona
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Bullhead City AZ, you might be pondering how to select the right program to receive your education and training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? A number of future students start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important factors when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. You might also want to look into a few accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Bullhead City AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the common daily functions a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions 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
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 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 diploma or a certificate, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Bullhead City AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many Bullhead City AZ pharmacies will only employ a technician 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 candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Before deciding on a pharmacist technician online program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in a local Bullhead City pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to get some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Bullhead City AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently more affordable than classroom 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 important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have decided whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician schools to pick from in the Bullhead City AZ area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Bullhead City home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are many other factors that you should take into consideration so that you may effectively compare programs. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a complete quality education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it might help in getting financial assistance 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 Bullhead City AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many employers prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy 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 work experience. This qualification may be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician 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 schools have a working relationship with Bullhead City AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in Bullhead City AZ upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any assistance. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Bullhead City AZ home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school 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 normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Bullhead City AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Bullhead City Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician colleges include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the proper education and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Bullhead City Arizona.