Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Drexel Heights AZ so you can get the proper training to build a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. Naturally the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. A number of potential students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical factors when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation must be considered 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 cover these qualifications and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job functions, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Drexel Heights AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily duties a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is a very satisfying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Drexel Heights AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 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 in the future. Either program can furnish the proper amount 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 every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Drexel Heights AZ employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that provide 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 completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Before selecting a pharmacist technician online training program, it's important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in a local Drexel Heights pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to receive some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Drexel Heights AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example 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 ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have determined whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy tech programs to pick from in the Drexel Heights AZ area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Drexel Heights home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other variables that you must take into consideration so that you may properly compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a complete quality education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can assist in securing financial aid 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 Drexel Heights AZ employers 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 techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech 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 fulfill the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Drexel Heights AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in Drexel Heights AZ after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any help. 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 school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Drexel Heights AZ home. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry 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 decide to enroll in a school 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 frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist technician program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Drexel Heights AZ area, make certain that they are offered. 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, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Learn More on Becoming a Pharmacy Tech in Drexel Heights
Enroll in the Best Drexel Heights Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the right pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting customers with their health is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician schools incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the right training and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Drexel Heights Arizona.
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