Pharmacy Tech School
How to Pick the Right One Near Coolidge Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Coolidge AZ, you might be wondering how to select the ideal school to get your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. When checking out pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students start by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are critical factors when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. You might also choose to research several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have numerous job functions, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Coolidge AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- 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
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is a very satisfying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
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 two alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Coolidge AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Coolidge AZ pharmacies will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Before selecting a pharmacist technician online training program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly 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. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Coolidge AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have determined whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacist tech schools to choose from in the Coolidge AZ area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Coolidge home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are many other issues that you need to take into consideration so that you may properly compare colleges. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it might assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Coolidge 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 every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician college needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This condition may be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Coolidge AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first position in Coolidge AZ upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without some support. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Coolidge AZ home. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble 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 college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Coolidge AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Coolidge Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting people with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician programs incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential 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 other tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the proper training and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Coolidge Arizona.