Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Select the Right One Near Marana Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Marana AZ, you may be pondering how to choose the right school to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of potential students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important factors when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. And if you prefer attending classes at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy techs have many job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Marana AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily functions a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence 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, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is a very rewarding career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two alternatives to becoming a tech regardless if 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 elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Marana AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs choose to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Marana AZ pharmacies will only hire a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma 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 Technician Colleges Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist tech online training program, it's important to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in an area Marana pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to get some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Marana AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
Once you have decided whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech schools to select from in the Marana AZ area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Marana residence. If you are willing to relocate 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 should take into consideration in order to adequately compare schools. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have acquired a regional or national 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 screened and verified to offer a complete superior education. Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it can assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many Marana AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech program needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This requirement may be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Marana AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Marana AZ after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any help. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Marana AZ home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Marana AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check 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 illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Marana Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the right pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician programs include both classroom and clinical work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to choose a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the proper education and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Marana Arizona.