Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Find the Right One Near Flagstaff Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Flagstaff AZ, you may be pondering just how to pick the best school to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many future students begin by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Flagstaff AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth 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 Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Flagstaff AZ employers will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Schools
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online school, it's important to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in an area Flagstaff pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech so as to acquire 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 convenient for most students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online program you are looking at 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 structured form of education, then online instruction may be the best solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
Once you have decided whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy tech colleges to choose from in the Flagstaff AZ area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Flagstaff residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you should consider so that you may properly compare schools. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online 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 organization. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Flagstaff 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 numerous pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This condition can be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical 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 Flagstaff AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Flagstaff AZ upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult task without some support. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Flagstaff AZ home. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Flagstaff AZ area, make certain that they are offered. 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, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Flagstaff Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the right pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying profession where helping people with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician schools include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to select a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the right education and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Flagstaff Arizona.