Pharmacy Tech School
How to Select the Right One Near Casa Grande Arizona
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Casa Grande AZ in order to receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. Naturally the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. When looking for pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students start by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are significant factors when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have many job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Casa Grande AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily tasks a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is a very rewarding career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Casa Grande AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Casa Grande AZ pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Schools
Before selecting a pharmacy tech online college, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in an area Casa Grande 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 so as to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Casa Grande AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently 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 complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
Once you have determined whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech colleges to pick from in the Casa Grande AZ area and throughout the Country, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Casa Grande residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are several other issues that you need to consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program together with the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it may assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate 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 required in every state, but a number of employers prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician program 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 job experience. This condition can be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Casa Grande AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Casa Grande AZ upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any support. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance 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 profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Casa Grande AZ home. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at 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 final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist tech program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend 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, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Casa Grande Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the right education and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Casa Grande Arizona.