Pharmacy Tech School
How to Choose the Best One Near Flagstaff Arizona
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Flagstaff AZ, you may be pondering how to select the ideal school to get your education and training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are significant factors when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. You may also want to look into several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Flagstaff AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive 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. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is a very rewarding career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program 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 attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Flagstaff AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Flagstaff AZ employers will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant 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 applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist technician online school, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Flagstaff pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to receive some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Flagstaff AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials may be reduced 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 obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have determined whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy technician schools to pick from in the Flagstaff AZ area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Flagstaff residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other issues that you should take into consideration in order to properly compare programs. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Flagstaff AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are 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 work experience. This qualification may be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Flagstaff AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Flagstaff AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement 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 appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Flagstaff AZ residence. Students 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. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide 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 commonly 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.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Flagstaff AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out 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 Flagstaff Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician programs incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to select a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate training and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Flagstaff Arizona.