Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Pick the Best One Near Coolidge Arizona
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Coolidge AZ, you might be thinking about how to choose the ideal program to get your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. Many prospective students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. And if you prefer attending classes in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have multiple job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Coolidge AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily duties a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Coolidge AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each 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 Options
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Coolidge AZ pharmacies will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Colleges Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online school, it's important to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area Coolidge pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to get some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Coolidge AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have decided whether you wish to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician colleges to select from in the Coolidge AZ area and throughout the United States, 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 most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Coolidge home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are several other variables that you need to consider so that you may adequately compare schools. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have obtained 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 furnish a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Coolidge AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many employers prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This qualification may be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be met 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 technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Coolidge AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Coolidge AZ after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any assistance. Ask if the colleges you are considering 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 an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Coolidge AZ residence. Those who have decided 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 importance. Something to keep 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for 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 rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average teacher to student 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 an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist technician school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Coolidge AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Coolidge Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their wellness is your mission. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a school 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 compare colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the proper training and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Coolidge Arizona.