Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Select the Right One Near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Fortuna Foothills AZ in order to get the proper training to build a career in the rewarding field of medicine. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students begin by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are significant factors when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. You may also want to research some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will address 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 certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have many job functions, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily functions a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely satisfying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Fortuna Foothills AZ employers will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished 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 two years by each program, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacist technician online program, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Fortuna Foothills pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to get some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your Fortuna Foothills AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have determined whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech programs to pick from in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Fortuna Foothills home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are many other variables that you must take into consideration so that you may effectively compare schools. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. 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. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program 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 Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech program should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This qualification may be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Fortuna Foothills AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Fortuna Foothills AZ upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any assistance. Ask 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 school has an excellent reputation within the field creating 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 School Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Fortuna Foothills AZ home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Fortuna Foothills Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession 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 much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to select a school 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 evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the right education and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Fortuna Foothills Arizona.