Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Find the Best One Near Maricopa Arizona
Now it’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Maricopa AZ in order to receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. Usually the initial step is to find colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. When looking for pharmacy technician schools, many potential students begin by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are critical concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. You may also want to research several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two options to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Maricopa AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Maricopa AZ pharmacies will only hire a technician 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, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in a local Maricopa pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech so as to receive some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Maricopa AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any 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 disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have determined whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacy tech programs to select from in the Maricopa AZ area and throughout the Country, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Maricopa residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you should take into consideration in order to effectively compare programs. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have earned 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 evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Maricopa AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech school should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work 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 satisfy the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with Maricopa AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Maricopa AZ after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some support. Ask if the colleges you are looking at 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 a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Maricopa AZ residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry 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 decide 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 often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Maricopa AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Maricopa Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician colleges include both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the right education and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Maricopa Arizona.