Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Pick the Best One Near Glendale Arizona
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Glendale AZ in order to receive the right training to build a career in the rewarding field of medicine. Usually the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of potential students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important concerns when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. And if you are interested in studying at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Glendale AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because 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 an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very gratifying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program 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 regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Glendale AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Glendale AZ pharmacies will only employ a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Classes Online
Before choosing a pharmacist tech online school, it's important to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in an area Glendale pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Glendale AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may 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 critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example 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.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have determined whether you would like to obtain 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 options. There are many pharmacy technician programs to pick from in the Glendale AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Glendale home. If you are able to move 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 factors that you need to take into consideration so that you may adequately compare programs. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it might assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Glendale AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician program should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which may be met 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 degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Glendale AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Glendale AZ after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Glendale AZ residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Glendale AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find Out More about Becoming a Pharmacy Tech in Glendale
Choose the Best Glendale Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate education and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Glendale Arizona.
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