Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Select the Right One Near Chandler Arizona
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Chandler AZ in order to receive the right training to build a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. Many potential students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant factors when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated also. You might also decide to take a look at some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have many job functions, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Chandler AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two alternatives to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Chandler AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs choose to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Chandler 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 candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Schools
Before selecting a pharmacy technician online school, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in a local Chandler pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Chandler AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, especially for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online training might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have determined whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacy technician programs to pick from in the Chandler AZ area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Chandler 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 many other issues that you should take into consideration so that you may adequately compare schools. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you get a superior education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Chandler AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician program needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This qualification may be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Chandler AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Chandler AZ after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any assistance. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, 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 demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Chandler AZ residence. 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 local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently 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 far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist technician program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Chandler AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find Out More about Becoming a Pharmacy Tech in Chandler
Enroll in the Right Chandler Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the right pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech colleges include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to select a school that is accredited and will prepare 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 compare colleges so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the right education and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Chandler Arizona.
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