Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Casa Grande Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Casa Grande AZ, you may be thinking about just how to pick the ideal college to receive your education and training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? A number of potential students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important factors when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be evaluated as well. And if you prefer attending classes at home by means 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 qualifiers and some 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 certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have multiple job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Casa Grande AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily functions a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready 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 techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational 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 elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Casa Grande AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Casa Grande 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 candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Before choosing a pharmacist tech online training program, it's important to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Casa Grande pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to acquire some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Casa Grande AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the ideal solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have determined whether you would like to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist technician programs to pick from in the Casa Grande AZ area and throughout the USA, 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 undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Casa Grande residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other issues that you must consider in order to properly compare programs. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Don't forget 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 organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Casa Grande 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 every state, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Casa Grande AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Casa Grande AZ upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some help. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, 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 generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Casa Grande AZ residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller 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 classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Casa Grande AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Casa Grande Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online 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 proper training and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Casa Grande Arizona.