Pharmacy Tech College
How to Enroll In the Best One Near Marana Arizona
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Marana AZ, you might be pondering just how to select the ideal school to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. When looking for pharmacy technician schools, many potential students start by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are important concerns when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. You might also choose to research several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Marana AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily duties a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two alternatives to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Marana AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Marana AZ employers will only hire a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Prior to selecting a pharmacy technician online program, it's important to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Marana pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to obtain some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Marana AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have decided whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician colleges to choose from in the Marana AZ area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Marana residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other issues that you should consider in order to effectively compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program together with the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Marana 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 required in every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician college needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This condition can be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Marana AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that first job in Marana AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging task without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Marana 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 area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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 kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist tech college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Marana AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Marana Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the right pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting people with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech schools incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate training and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Marana Arizona.