Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Choose the Right One Near Coolidge Arizona
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Coolidge AZ, you might be pondering just 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 future students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant factors when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be evaluated also. And if you are interested in studying in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have many job responsibilities, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Coolidge AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Enter prescription and customer information 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 job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings 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 a very gratifying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two options to becoming a tech 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 provide an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Coolidge AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools opt to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Coolidge AZ pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer 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 work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Before deciding on a pharmacist tech online training program, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Coolidge pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Coolidge 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 degree or certificate. And online schools are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online program you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy tech colleges to select from in the Coolidge AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Coolidge home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other issues that you need to take into consideration in order to properly compare programs. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Many pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it might help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Coolidge AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many 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 additionally need 1 year of job experience. This requirement can be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Coolidge AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in Coolidge AZ upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without any help. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Coolidge AZ home. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student 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 students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening 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 credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Coolidge Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the right pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician schools incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to choose a program that is accredited and will ready 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 evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate education and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Coolidge Arizona.