Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Find the Right One Near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Fortuna Foothills AZ, you may be pondering just how to choose the right college to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. Many potential students start by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant factors when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. And if you prefer attending classes at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy techs have many job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever give medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily duties a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is an extremely fulfilling career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 options 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 typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to get certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Fortuna Foothills AZ pharmacies will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 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, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online school, it's important to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Fortuna Foothills pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Fortuna Foothills AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online training might be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy technician colleges to pick from in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Fortuna Foothills home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are many other issues that you need to consider so that you may adequately compare schools. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacist technician programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among 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 certified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Make sure to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it might help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Fortuna Foothills AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech school should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This requirement may be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Fortuna Foothills AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Fortuna Foothills AZ upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult task without some help. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement 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 creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Fortuna Foothills AZ home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist tech school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Fortuna Foothills Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the ideal pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting people with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, most 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 trained technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician programs include both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to select a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes and 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 best selection. With the right training and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Fortuna Foothills Arizona.