Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Choose the Right One Near New Kingman Butler Arizona
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near New Kingman Butler AZ, you may be thinking about just how to pick the ideal program to receive your education and training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of prospective students start by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant factors when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated also. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have many job functions, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed New Kingman Butler AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily functions a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted New Kingman Butler AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of New Kingman Butler AZ pharmacies will only hire 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 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 just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online college, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in an area New Kingman Butler pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your New Kingman Butler AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, especially for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online school you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have determined whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist tech schools to select from in the New Kingman Butler AZ area and throughout the United States, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your New Kingman Butler residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other issues that you must consider in order to properly compare schools. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it might help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of New Kingman Butler AZ employers 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 required in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech college should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This condition can be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with New Kingman Butler AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in New Kingman Butler AZ upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some help. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their New Kingman Butler AZ home. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the New Kingman Butler AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best New Kingman Butler Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their health is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician schools incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to enroll in a program 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 additional suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the right training and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in New Kingman Butler Arizona.