Pharmacy Tech Program
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 may be pondering how to choose the best school to receive your education and training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? When checking out pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are significant concerns when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. You might also want to look into several accredited online pharmacy tech 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 discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Gilbert AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit 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 very common, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is an extremely satisfying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished 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 include an internship at an accepted Gilbert AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Gilbert AZ pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Before choosing a pharmacist tech online training program, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Gilbert pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to acquire some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Gilbert AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, notably for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have determined whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech colleges to choose from in the Gilbert AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Gilbert residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other factors that you must consider in order to properly compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional 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 verified to provide a complete superior education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Be sure to confirm 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. Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, it may help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many Gilbert AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of employers prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician college should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Gilbert AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial job in Gilbert AZ upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some assistance. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, find out 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 demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Gilbert AZ residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have 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 sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Gilbert AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Gilbert Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the right pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech schools include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to choose a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the right education and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Gilbert Arizona.