Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Select the Best One Near Goodyear Arizona
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Goodyear AZ in order to receive the right training to build a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. Usually the initial step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. When looking for pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are significant factors when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have many job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Goodyear AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 alternatives to training to be a tech whether 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 provide an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Goodyear AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Goodyear AZ employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. 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 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 each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Schools
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online training program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in a local Goodyear pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to acquire some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Goodyear AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have determined whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician schools to select from in the Goodyear AZ area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Goodyear residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are several other issues that you must take into consideration in order to effectively compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a complete superior education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Goodyear 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 required in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Goodyear AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial position in Goodyear AZ upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some assistance. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Goodyear AZ residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry 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 decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have 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 live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Goodyear AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Goodyear Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician programs incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate training and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Goodyear Arizona.