Pharmacy Tech School
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Florence Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Florence AZ, you may be pondering just how to choose the right program to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. When checking out pharmacy technician schools, many potential students begin by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are significant factors when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation must be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in studying at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that 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 earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Florence AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead 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 Tech Certification Options
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Florence AZ pharmacies will only hire a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Before selecting a pharmacy tech online college, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually 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 work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Florence AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may 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 critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy tech programs to pick from in the Florence AZ area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Florence home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other issues that you need to consider in order to effectively compare colleges. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it might assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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 graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech program should prepare 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 met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way 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 practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Florence AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Florence AZ after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult task without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Florence AZ home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps 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 normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide 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, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Florence Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where helping people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies 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. The majority of pharmacy tech schools incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate training and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Florence Arizona.