Pharmacy Tech School
How to Pick the Right One Near Glendale Arizona
Now it’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Glendale AZ in order to get the proper training to build a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. Of course the initial step is to find colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students begin by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant concerns when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. And if you are interested in studying in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have numerous job responsibilities, but their main responsibility 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 skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily duties a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a tech 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 accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Glendale AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the proper level 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 all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Glendale AZ employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Prior to choosing a pharmacist technician online school, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in a local Glendale pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain 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 alternative is more convenient for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the best solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you would like 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 start to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech colleges to select from in the Glendale AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Glendale home. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are several other variables that you should consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have earned 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 verified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Glendale AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This condition may be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of 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 in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Glendale AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial job in Glendale AZ upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some support. Find out if the colleges you are looking at 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 an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Glendale AZ home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may 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.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. 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 converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist technician school you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Glendale AZ area, check that they are offered. 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 have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Glendale Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician programs incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate education and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Glendale Arizona.