Pharmacy Tech College
How to Enroll In the Right One Near New River Arizona
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near New River AZ in order to get the right training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? When looking for pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students start by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are significant factors when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be evaluated also. You might also choose to look into several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have various job responsibilities, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed New River AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because 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 an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily duties a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is a very satisfying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted New River AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many New River AZ employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Classes
Prior to choosing a pharmacist technician online college, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in a local New River pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to obtain some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your New River AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, notably for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have determined whether you wish to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician colleges to select from in the New River AZ area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your New River home. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other factors that you need to take into consideration so that you may properly compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many New River AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician program needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement can be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires one year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through 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 an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with New River AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in New River AZ after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some support. Ask if the colleges you are researching 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 school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their New River AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble 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 college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to 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 hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. 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 speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the New River AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best New River Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech programs incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to select a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate education and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in New River Arizona.