Pharmacy Tech College
How to Pick the Right One Near Douglas Arizona
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Douglas AZ in order to get the proper training to build a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many prospective students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical factors when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. You might also choose to take a look at some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have many job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Douglas AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Douglas AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two 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. Each program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Douglas AZ pharmacies will only employ a technician that is certified. 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 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 called for every 2 years by each program, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Classes Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy tech online school, it's important to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Douglas pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Douglas 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 colleges are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have determined whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist tech colleges to pick from in the Douglas AZ area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Douglas 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 variables that you need to consider so that you may properly compare programs. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it might assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Douglas 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 all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech college should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This requirement can be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the programs have associations with Douglas AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Douglas AZ upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult task without some support. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Douglas 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 bear 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to 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 far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy technician school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Douglas AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Douglas Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech programs include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the right education and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Douglas Arizona.