Pharmacy Tech School
How to Find the Best One Near Chandler Arizona
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Chandler AZ, you might be thinking about just how to pick the best program to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical concerns when picking a college, 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 rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Chandler AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Chandler AZ employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 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 completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Schools
Before selecting a pharmacy tech online college, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in an area Chandler pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Chandler AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online programs are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have decided whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech programs to choose from in the Chandler AZ area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Chandler residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are many other factors that you should consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have earned 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 screened and certified to offer a complete quality education. Online programs 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 certificate or degree program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it might assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Chandler AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of employers prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech program should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This condition can be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train 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 meet the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Chandler AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Chandler AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any support. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement 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 demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Chandler AZ home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy tech school you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Chandler AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Chandler Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling profession where helping people with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician schools include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the appropriate education and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Chandler Arizona.