Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Find the Best One Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Now it’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Lake Havasu City AZ in order to receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding field of medicine. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant factors when selecting a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. 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 good customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily functions a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work after hours is a very fulfilling career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Lake Havasu City AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Lake Havasu City 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 candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Classes
Before selecting a pharmacist technician online school, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Lake Havasu City pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to receive some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Lake Havasu City AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the right solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have determined whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacist tech colleges to pick from in the Lake Havasu City AZ area and throughout the USA, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Lake Havasu City home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are several other issues that you should consider in order to properly compare schools. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it might assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program 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 Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech school needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This condition may be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on 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 programs have associations with Lake Havasu City AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in Lake Havasu City AZ after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Lake Havasu City AZ residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online 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 school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy technician school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Lake Havasu City AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Lake Havasu City Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where helping customers with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech programs include both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to select a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds 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 sure to make the best selection. With the proper education and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Lake Havasu City Arizona.