Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Pick the Best One Near Flagstaff Arizona
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Flagstaff AZ so you can receive the right training to build a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? When looking for pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students start by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are critical factors when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. And if you are interested in studying in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Flagstaff AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Flagstaff AZ employers will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist tech online school, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in a local Flagstaff pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to acquire some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Flagstaff AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online classes might be the right solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have determined whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician colleges to choose from in the Flagstaff AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must 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 initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Flagstaff residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are many other issues that you should take into consideration so that you may properly compare colleges. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected 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 schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Flagstaff AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of employers prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician program needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This condition can be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which may be met through 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 tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Flagstaff AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that first position in Flagstaff AZ after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If so, 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 indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Flagstaff AZ residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Flagstaff AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Find Out More on How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Flagstaff
Enroll in the Best Flagstaff Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician schools incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the proper training and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Flagstaff Arizona.
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