Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Select the Right One Near Maricopa Arizona
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Maricopa AZ so you can get the right training to build a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? A number of potential students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant concerns when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. You may also decide to take a look at several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have many job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Maricopa AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily services a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is an extremely satisfying career helping people 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 essentially two options 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 usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Maricopa AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many Maricopa AZ pharmacies will only employ a tech that is certified. 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 completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy tech online training program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in a local Maricopa pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to receive some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Maricopa AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school 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 study with a less structured form of education, then online classes may be the best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have determined whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist technician programs to choose from in the Maricopa AZ area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Maricopa residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other factors that you should take into consideration in order to properly compare schools. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it can assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Maricopa AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many employers prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician program should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This condition can be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician 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 satisfy the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Maricopa AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Maricopa AZ upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some help. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Maricopa AZ home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even 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 for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy tech program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Maricopa AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative 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 may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Maricopa Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the right pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician programs incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to select a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the appropriate education and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Maricopa Arizona.