Pharmacy Tech School
How to Select the Right One Near Douglas Arizona
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Douglas AZ, you may be wondering how to pick the ideal program to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. A number of future students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important 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 cost and location. And if you prefer studying at 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 cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have various job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Douglas AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 options to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Douglas AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many Douglas AZ employers will only hire 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 at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in a local Douglas pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Douglas AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 classes may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have determined whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician colleges to choose from in the Douglas AZ area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Douglas home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other issues that you should take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Many pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Douglas AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of employers desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech college needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Douglas AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first position in Douglas AZ after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any support. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Douglas AZ residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering 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 final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Douglas AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Find Out More about How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Douglas
Choose the Right Douglas Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is an important first step to launching your career in a gratifying profession where helping people with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech colleges include both classroom and clinical training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to select a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the proper training and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Douglas Arizona.
Douglas Pharmacy Tech Certificate | Douglas Pharmacy Technician Schools