Pharmacy Tech School
How to Choose the Right One Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Lake Havasu City AZ in order to get the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students begin by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are important concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated also. You might also choose to research a few accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Lake Havasu City AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the common daily services a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 options to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Lake Havasu City AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Lake Havasu City AZ employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Classes Online
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online school, it's important to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Lake Havasu City pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to obtain some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Lake Havasu City AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged 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 instruction may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
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 attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy tech colleges to select from in the Lake Havasu City AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Lake Havasu City home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other factors that you must consider so that you may effectively compare schools. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacist technician programs and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected 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 quality education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it might assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Lake Havasu City AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician college should ready 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 requirement can be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire 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 satisfy the requirement. Ask if the schools have associations with Lake Havasu City AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Lake Havasu City AZ after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult task without some help. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Lake Havasu City AZ home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy tech college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Lake Havasu City AZ area, make sure that they are available. 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, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Lake Havasu City Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a program 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 other suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the appropriate education and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Lake Havasu City Arizona.