Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Find the Best One Near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Catalina Foothills AZ, you may be thinking about how to pick the right college to get your education and training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? When checking out pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students start by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are critical factors when picking 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. You might also choose to research several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy techs have various job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Catalina Foothills AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control 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 very common, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Catalina Foothills AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Catalina Foothills AZ pharmacies will only employ a technician 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 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Before choosing a pharmacist tech online training program, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in an area Catalina Foothills pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Catalina Foothills AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online classes might be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have decided 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 begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician colleges to pick from in the Catalina Foothills AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Catalina Foothills home. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other issues that you should take into consideration in order to adequately compare programs. The questions below will assist you to gather 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 acquired a regional or national 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 evaluated and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you get a superior education, it may help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Catalina Foothills AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This requirement can be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Catalina Foothills AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first position in Catalina Foothills AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging task without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Catalina Foothills AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech school you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Catalina Foothills AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Catalina Foothills Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech schools incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to select a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the proper training and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Catalina Foothills Arizona.