Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Pick the Best One Near Marana Arizona
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Marana AZ, you might be pondering how to choose the best program to receive your education and training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? When checking out pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are important factors when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. You may also choose to take a look at some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when comparing 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 numerous job responsibilities, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Marana AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily functions a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Add prescription and customer information 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
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Marana AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Marana AZ pharmacies will only employ a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy tech online program, it's important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Marana pharmacy or health center 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. Fortunately 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 convenient for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
Once you have decided whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy tech programs to pick from in the Marana AZ area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Marana 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 a number of other issues that you must consider in order to properly compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of 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 required in every state, but many pharmacies desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This condition may be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Marana AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Marana AZ upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some assistance. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Marana AZ home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy tech program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Marana AZ area, check that they are offered. 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 enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Marana Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where helping people with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies 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 pharmacy technician schools incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to choose a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the proper training and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Marana Arizona.