Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Pick the Best One Near Bullhead City Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Bullhead City AZ, you may be thinking about how to pick the best college to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. Many potential students begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, 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 Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have numerous job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Bullhead City AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily duties a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college 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 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 finished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Bullhead City AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs opt to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Bullhead City AZ employers will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Schools
Prior to choosing a pharmacy tech online college, it's important to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Bullhead City pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working 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 Bullhead City AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online training might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have determined whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist tech colleges to choose from in the Bullhead City AZ area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Bullhead City home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are several other variables that you need to take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have obtained 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 verified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, it can help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Bullhead City 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 mandated in all states, but many employers prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician college needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way 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 in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Bullhead City AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial position in Bullhead City AZ upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting task without some help. Find out if the schools 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 indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Bullhead City AZ home. Individuals who have chosen 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 keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly 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 likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Bullhead City AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Bullhead City Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where helping people with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician schools incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to select 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 make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the right training and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Bullhead City Arizona.