Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Pick the Best One Near Gilbert Arizona
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Gilbert AZ, you might be thinking about just how to select the right school to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students begin by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are critical factors when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Gilbert AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive 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 choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Gilbert AZ employers will only employ a tech 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 candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Before deciding on a pharmacist tech online program, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in an area Gilbert pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Gilbert AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online program you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online training may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have determined whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech schools to select from in the Gilbert AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Gilbert home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other factors that you must consider in order to properly compare schools. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also obtain 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 as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it might assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Gilbert 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 technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech program should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This requirement can be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Gilbert AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Getting that initial position in Gilbert AZ after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any help. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Gilbert AZ residence. Those who have opted 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. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer 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 prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist technician school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Gilbert AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Gilbert Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where helping people with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech colleges include both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online and 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 best selection. With the right training and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Gilbert Arizona.