Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Find the Right One Near Gilbert Arizona
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Gilbert AZ, you might be wondering just how to choose the right school to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. Many future students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant factors when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. And if you are interested in studying at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Gilbert AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many Gilbert AZ employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Classes
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online college, it's important to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in a local Gilbert pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to get some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Gilbert AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have determined whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Gilbert AZ area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Gilbert home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other issues that you must consider so that you may adequately compare schools. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it might help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Gilbert AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many employers desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This condition may be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Gilbert AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Gilbert AZ after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any help. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Gilbert AZ residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some 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 need to confirm that the pharmacist technician college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Gilbert AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Gilbert Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician schools include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to choose a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds 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 programs so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the proper training and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Gilbert Arizona.