Pharmacy Tech College
How to Find the Best One Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Drexel Heights AZ, you may be wondering just how to pick the best school to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. When looking for pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are critical concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. You might also decide to look into several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Drexel Heights AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Drexel Heights AZ pharmacies will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Colleges
Prior to selecting a pharmacist tech online college, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in an area Drexel Heights pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Drexel Heights AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have determined whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are many pharmacist tech programs to select from in the Drexel Heights AZ area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Drexel Heights residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other issues that you need to consider in order to properly compare schools. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a complete quality education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it might assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Drexel Heights AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many employers prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This requirement may be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which can be met by means of 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 practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Drexel Heights AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Drexel Heights AZ after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, find out 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 demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Drexel Heights AZ residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry 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 choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps 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 usually 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 student that likes 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 allow for 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 monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak 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 need to confirm that the pharmacy technician college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Drexel Heights AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Drexel Heights Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician programs incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to enroll in a program 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 other suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the appropriate education and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Drexel Heights Arizona.