Pharmacy Tech School
How to Find the Best One Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Lake Havasu City AZ in order to receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding field of medicine. Usually the first step is to locate colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are critical factors when deciding on a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy techs have multiple job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Lake Havasu City AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily services a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Add 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 monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly 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 helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom 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 typically requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. 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
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Lake Havasu City AZ employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide 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 completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Prior to choosing a pharmacist technician online school, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in an area Lake Havasu City pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Lake Havasu City AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can 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 critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online training might be the best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have determined whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech programs to choose from in the Lake Havasu City AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Lake Havasu City residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are several other issues that you must consider so that you may properly compare schools. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have earned a regional or national 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 exclusively with online or distance education. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it might assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered 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 School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech college needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This qualification can be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of job 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 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. Check if the schools have associations with Lake Havasu City AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in Lake Havasu City AZ upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some support. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Lake Havasu City AZ home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to 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, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Find Out More on How to Become a Pharmacy Tech in Lake Havasu City
Choose the Best Lake Havasu City Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician schools include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the proper training and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Lake Havasu City Arizona.
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