Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Choose the Best One Near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Catalina Foothills AZ, you might be wondering just how to pick the best college to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. When checking out pharmacy technician schools, many potential students start by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are critical concerns when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. And if you are interested in studying in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy techs have multiple job functions, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Catalina Foothills AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as 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 directed to the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily functions a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Catalina Foothills AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Catalina Foothills AZ employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate 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 graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online college, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied 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 in order to acquire some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Catalina Foothills AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have decided whether you want to obtain 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 many pharmacy tech schools to pick from in the Catalina Foothills AZ area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Catalina Foothills residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other factors that you need to take into consideration in order to properly compare programs. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacist technician programs and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it can help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Catalina Foothills AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of employers prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician college should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement may be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Catalina Foothills AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Catalina Foothills AZ upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some assistance. Find out if the schools you are looking at 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 profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Catalina Foothills AZ home. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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 type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for 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 prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Catalina Foothills AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Catalina Foothills Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where helping people with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies 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. A large number of pharmacy tech colleges include both classroom and clinical work. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to choose a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the right training and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Catalina Foothills Arizona.