Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Select the Right One Near Flowing Wells Arizona
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Flowing Wells AZ so you can receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. Naturally the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. When looking for pharmacy technician schools, many potential students begin by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are significant factors when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. You might also want to take a look at a few accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have numerous job functions, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Flowing Wells AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily functions a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is a very gratifying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 alternatives to becoming 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 usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Flowing Wells AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically 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 in the future. Either program can furnish the proper 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 many graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Flowing Wells AZ employers will only employ a technician 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, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist technician online college, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Flowing Wells pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to get some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Flowing Wells AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 training might be the right solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have determined whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy technician programs to select from in the Flowing Wells AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Flowing Wells residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are several other variables that you should take into consideration in order to effectively compare schools. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacist technician programs and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a complete quality education. Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Flowing Wells AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement may be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Flowing Wells AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Flowing Wells AZ upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting task without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Flowing Wells AZ residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Flowing Wells AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Flowing Wells Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where helping customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech schools include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to choose a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the proper training and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Flowing Wells Arizona.