Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Choose the Right One Near Florence Arizona
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Florence AZ, you might be pondering just how to pick the ideal college to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. When looking for pharmacy technician programs, many potential students begin by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are critical factors when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. And if you prefer attending classes in your 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 qualifiers and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Florence AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Florence AZ pharmacies will only hire a tech 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 applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Before selecting a pharmacist technician online college, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in a local Florence pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Florence AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may 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 obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online program you are reviewing 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 ideal solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have decided whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, 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 many pharmacy technician colleges to select from in the Florence AZ area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Florence home. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you need to take into consideration in order to effectively compare colleges. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have earned 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 furnish a complete superior education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it might help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Florence AZ pharmacies 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 mandated in all states, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech college should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This requirement may be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Florence AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first position in Florence AZ upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some help. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Florence AZ residence. 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 concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly 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.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. 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 talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy tech college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Florence AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Florence Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to choose a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the proper training and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Florence Arizona.