Pharmacy Tech College
How to Find the Right One Near Maricopa Arizona
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Maricopa AZ so you can get the right training to begin a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. A number of future students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Maricopa AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two options to training to be 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 usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Maricopa AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Maricopa AZ employers will only employ a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Before selecting a pharmacist tech online program, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area Maricopa pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Maricopa AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have determined whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy technician programs to choose from in the Maricopa AZ area and throughout the USA, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Maricopa home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other variables that you should consider so that you may adequately compare schools. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have obtained a national or regional 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 furnish a complete superior education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it can help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Maricopa AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician school should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This condition may be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Maricopa AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial position in Maricopa AZ after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult task without some support. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Maricopa AZ residence. Individuals who have opted 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy tech college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Maricopa AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Maricopa Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the proper training and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Maricopa Arizona.