Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Select the Best One Near Chandler Arizona
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Chandler AZ so you can get the right training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of prospective students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical factors when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. You may also decide to research a few accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. 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 degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Chandler AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily duties a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 options to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Chandler AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive 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 Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Chandler AZ employers will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide 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 at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online school, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Chandler pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Chandler AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, especially for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
Once you have decided whether you wish 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 tech programs to pick from in the Chandler AZ area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Chandler residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other factors that you must consider so that you may effectively compare schools. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Chandler AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This condition may be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Chandler AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Chandler AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any help. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, ask 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 appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Chandler AZ home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably 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 typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Chandler AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Chandler Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their health is your objective. In the past, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician programs include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to select a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the proper education and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Chandler Arizona.