Pharmacy Tech College
How to Find the Best One Near Gilbert Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Gilbert AZ, you may be pondering just how to pick the best college to receive your education and training. Of course the initial step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are critical concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. You may also decide to look into some accredited online pharmacy tech 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 comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job responsibilities, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Gilbert AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Gilbert AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Gilbert AZ pharmacies will only employ a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant 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 applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online training program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Gilbert pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to receive some real world experience. However 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 accommodating for most students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have decided whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech schools to choose from in the Gilbert AZ area and throughout the Country, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Gilbert home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are many other variables that you must take into consideration so that you may effectively compare schools. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it may help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may 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 School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train 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 satisfy the requirement. Check if the programs have associations with Gilbert AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial job in Gilbert AZ upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some assistance. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, find out 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 demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Gilbert AZ home. Individuals who have chosen 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. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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 person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Gilbert AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Gilbert Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech schools include both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to select a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the proper training and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Gilbert Arizona.