Pharmacy Tech School
How to Pick the Right One Near Green Valley Arizona
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Green Valley AZ in order to receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of potential students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important factors when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. You might also want to look into some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have many job responsibilities, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Green Valley AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily duties a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is a very fulfilling career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 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 overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Green Valley AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Green Valley AZ pharmacies will only hire a technician that has earned certification. 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 work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma 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 Tech Online Schools
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online program, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area Green Valley pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to get some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your Green Valley AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have determined whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician colleges to select from in the Green Valley AZ area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Green Valley residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other factors that you should take into consideration in order to adequately compare schools. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it may assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Green Valley AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This condition may be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Green Valley AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Green Valley AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult task without some help. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, 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 profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Green Valley AZ home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online 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 school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at 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 final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Green Valley AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Green Valley Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician colleges incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to select a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to compare programs 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 tech in Green Valley Arizona.