Pharmacy Tech School
How to Select the Best One Near Maricopa Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Maricopa AZ, you might be wondering just how to choose the ideal college to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many prospective students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. You may also choose to look into several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two options to training to be a tech 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 completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Maricopa AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Maricopa AZ employers will only hire a tech 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 applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy tech online college, it's important to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Maricopa pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech so as to obtain some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Maricopa AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm 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 study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the best solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have determined whether you want to obtain 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 pharmacist technician programs to pick from in the Maricopa AZ area and throughout the USA, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Maricopa home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are several other issues that you must take into consideration in order to effectively compare schools. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it might help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Maricopa AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician program should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This qualification can be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Maricopa AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in Maricopa AZ after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any support. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, 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 generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Maricopa AZ residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Maricopa AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Maricopa Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where helping customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech programs include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the right education and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Maricopa Arizona.