Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Find the Best One Near Fountain Hills Arizona
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Fountain Hills AZ, you may be wondering just how to choose the ideal college to receive your education and training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? When checking out pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are critical factors when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. You might also choose to take a look at some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Fountain Hills AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Fountain Hills AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Fountain Hills AZ employers will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 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, be a high school graduate, 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 exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online college, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in an area Fountain Hills pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Fountain Hills AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be reduced 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 securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist tech schools to pick from in the Fountain Hills AZ area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Fountain Hills home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are many other factors that you need to consider in order to effectively compare schools. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete quality education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Fountain Hills 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 a number of employers prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This condition may be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied with an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with Fountain Hills AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial position in Fountain Hills AZ after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any support. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Fountain Hills AZ residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind 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 don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy tech college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fountain Hills AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Fountain Hills Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a fulfilling profession where helping people with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician programs include both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to select a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the right education and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Fountain Hills Arizona.