Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Find the Right One Near Eloy Arizona
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Eloy AZ, you might be wondering how to choose the best college to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of future students start by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical factors when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated also. And if you prefer attending classes in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over 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 classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy techs have many job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Eloy AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily services a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two alternatives to becoming 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 usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Eloy AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Eloy AZ employers will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 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, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacist tech online program, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Eloy pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed 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 programs are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example 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 right option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have decided whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech schools to select from in the Eloy AZ area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Eloy residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are many other variables that you need to consider in order to adequately compare schools. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of 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 furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Eloy AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many employers desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Eloy AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Eloy AZ upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any support. Find out if the colleges you are looking at 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 a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Eloy AZ residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep 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 may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large 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 allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist tech school you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Eloy AZ area, make sure 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 need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Eloy Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacy tech training is an important first step to launching your career in a gratifying profession where assisting customers with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician programs incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to select a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate training and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Eloy Arizona.