Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Select the Best One Near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Fortuna Foothills AZ in order to receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. Of course the initial step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many prospective students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical factors when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. You may also want to look into a few accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifications and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have many job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily duties a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacy or similar 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 offer a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacies will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, 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 exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Prior to choosing a pharmacist tech online training program, 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 setting. This is commonly satisfied in an area Fortuna Foothills pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to get some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Fortuna Foothills AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online classes may be the best solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
Once you have determined whether you wish to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician schools to choose from in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Fortuna Foothills residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are many other factors that you need to take into consideration in order to adequately compare schools. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a complete quality education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Fortuna Foothills AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech school should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This requirement may be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Fortuna Foothills AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in Fortuna Foothills AZ after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a challenging task without any support. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Fortuna Foothills AZ home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally 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 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 generally 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 sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some 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 need to verify that the pharmacist technician school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Fortuna Foothills Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their health is your objective. In the past, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech schools include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the proper training and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Fortuna Foothills Arizona.