Pharmacy Tech School
How to Select the Best One Near Glendale Arizona
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Glendale AZ so you can receive the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? When looking for pharmacy technician schools, many potential students start by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are significant factors when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. You might also choose to research some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have multiple job functions, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Glendale AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily services a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Glendale AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Glendale AZ employers will only employ a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online college, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Glendale pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to acquire some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Glendale AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online classes might be the right solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
Once you have determined whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician schools to pick from in the Glendale AZ area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Glendale home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are many other issues that you must consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have obtained 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 evaluated and certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Glendale AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech school should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This qualification may be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Glendale AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in Glendale AZ after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any support. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Glendale AZ residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes 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 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 frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. 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 speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist technician school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Glendale AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Glendale Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech colleges include both classroom and clinical training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to enroll in a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Glendale Arizona.