Pharmacy Tech School
How to Pick the Best One Near Gilbert Arizona
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Gilbert AZ in order to get the proper training to build a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Many future students begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important concerns when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. You may also decide to take a look at several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need 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 Certificates and Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 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 typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Gilbert AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools choose to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many Gilbert AZ pharmacies will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer 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 just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online training program, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Gilbert pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech so as to receive some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Gilbert AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the best option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have decided whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy tech schools to choose from in the Gilbert AZ area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Gilbert residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other issues that you must consider in order to properly compare programs. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate 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 Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of employers prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This condition may be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Gilbert AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in Gilbert AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Gilbert AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry 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 even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching 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 final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Gilbert AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Gilbert Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is an important first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech programs incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to select a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Gilbert Arizona.