Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Find the Best One Near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Catalina Foothills AZ, you may be pondering just how to select the right school to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. You might also decide to take a look at a few accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Catalina Foothills AZ pharmacy or other 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 furnish a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Catalina Foothills AZ pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Prior to selecting a pharmacist technician online school, it's important to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in an area Catalina Foothills pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to get some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Catalina Foothills AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have determined whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy technician programs to pick from in the Catalina Foothills AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Catalina Foothills 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 many other issues that you need to consider in order to adequately compare schools. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Catalina Foothills AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This condition can be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Catalina Foothills AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Catalina Foothills AZ upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some help. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Catalina Foothills AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical 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 speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist technician program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Catalina Foothills AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Catalina Foothills Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech schools include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate education and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Catalina Foothills Arizona.