Pharmacy Tech College
How to Find the Best One Near Gilbert Arizona
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Gilbert AZ, you might be thinking about just how to select the best school to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are significant concerns when selecting a school, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. You might also want to research some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have many job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Gilbert AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily services a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 alternatives to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Gilbert AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Gilbert AZ employers will only employ a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant 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 only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Schools
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area Gilbert pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Gilbert AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online training may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist technician schools to select from in the Gilbert 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 discussed 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 willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you need to take into consideration in order to properly compare programs. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it might assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Gilbert AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This requirement may be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Gilbert AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Gilbert AZ after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult task without any help. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Gilbert AZ residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Gilbert AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Gilbert Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician colleges incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to select a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the proper education and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Gilbert Arizona.