Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Flagstaff Arizona
Now it’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Flagstaff AZ in order to receive the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Many potential students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important concerns when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover 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 tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Flagstaff 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 medications 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 directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Flagstaff AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Flagstaff AZ pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are 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 professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Classes Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Flagstaff pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Flagstaff AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online school 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 learn with a less structured form of education, then online instruction might be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have determined whether you would like to earn 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 a large number of pharmacist tech schools 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 technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Flagstaff home. If you are willing 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 variables that you should consider so that you may effectively compare schools. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may help in securing 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 many Flagstaff AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician program needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical 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 fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Flagstaff AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first position in Flagstaff AZ after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some support. Find out if the colleges you are looking at 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 a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Flagstaff AZ residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Flagstaff AZ area, check 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 have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Find Out More on Becoming a Pharmacy Tech in Flagstaff
Enroll in the Right Flagstaff Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech colleges include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the right education and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Flagstaff Arizona.
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