Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Select the Right One Near Kingman Arizona
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Kingman AZ, you may be thinking about just how to select the right program to get your education and training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? When looking for pharmacy technician schools, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are critical factors when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. And if you are interested in studying in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover 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 programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Kingman AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily services a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very rewarding career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Kingman AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth 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 Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools choose to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Kingman AZ pharmacies will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Prior to selecting a pharmacy tech online college, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in an area Kingman pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Kingman AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online program you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online classes might be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you wish to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Kingman AZ area and throughout the Country, so you need to 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 initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Kingman residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are many other issues that you need to take into consideration so that you may adequately compare colleges. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician programs and vocational 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 verified to offer a complete quality education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Kingman AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech program needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This condition can be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied 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 degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Kingman AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in Kingman AZ upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult task without some help. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, ask 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 demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Kingman AZ residence. Students who have chosen 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 importance. Something to consider 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often 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 prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Kingman AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify 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 emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Kingman Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech schools include both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the appropriate education and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Kingman Arizona.