Pharmacy Tech College
How to Choose the Right One Near Goodyear Arizona
Now it’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Goodyear AZ so you can receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. Many future students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. You may also choose to research a few accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have many job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Goodyear AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the common daily services a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Welcome and help 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 prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is a very gratifying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two alternatives to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Goodyear AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Goodyear AZ employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Schools
Prior to selecting a pharmacy tech online school, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in a local Goodyear pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your Goodyear AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have determined whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech programs to pick from in the Goodyear AZ area and throughout the USA, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Goodyear home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other factors that you should consider so that you may properly compare schools. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it might help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Goodyear AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech college needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech 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 an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Goodyear AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Goodyear AZ after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any support. Ask if the colleges 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 school has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Goodyear AZ home. Those who have chosen 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 even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy tech school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Goodyear AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Goodyear Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their health is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech programs incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the appropriate education and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Goodyear Arizona.