Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Eloy Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Eloy AZ, you might be thinking about how to select the right school to get your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. Many prospective students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant concerns when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. You may also decide to take a look at some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have various job responsibilities, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Eloy AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily duties a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is a very satisfying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Eloy AZ pharmacy or other 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 down the road. Either program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Eloy AZ pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant 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 just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Colleges
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist tech online training program, it's important to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in an area Eloy pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to acquire some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Eloy AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have determined whether you want to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacist technician schools to select from in the Eloy AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Eloy residence. 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 consider in order to adequately compare schools. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and trade 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). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Eloy AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many pharmacies desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician college needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This requirement can be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Eloy AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial job in Eloy AZ upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some assistance. Ask if the schools you are researching 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 a good reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Eloy AZ residence. Individuals 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 importance. One thing to consider 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 often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes permit 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 want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Eloy AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Eloy Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where helping people with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech schools incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the right education and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Eloy Arizona.