Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Find the Best One Near Florence Arizona
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Florence AZ, you may be thinking about how to choose the best school to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. A number of future students start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. And if you are interested in studying at home by means 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 go over these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Florence AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily functions a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is a very satisfying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Florence AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Florence AZ employers will only hire a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, 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 candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Before selecting a pharmacy tech online training program, it's important to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in an area 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 acquire some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Florence AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the best solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
Once you have determined whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy technician colleges to choose from in the Florence AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Florence residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are many other issues that you must consider so that you may adequately compare programs. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have acquired 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 verified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Florence AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This condition can be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Florence AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Florence AZ upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Florence AZ residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern 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 college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist technician school you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Florence AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Find Out More on Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in Florence
Enroll in the Best Florence Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where helping people with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician colleges include both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to select a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the appropriate education and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Florence Arizona.
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