Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Find the Right One Near New River Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near New River AZ, you might be thinking about just how to choose the best program to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical factors when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. You may also decide to take a look at several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifications and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Individuals 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 2 alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved New River AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many New River AZ pharmacies will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 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, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online program, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in a local New River pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to obtain some work place 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 alternative is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as 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 might be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have determined whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacist tech colleges to select from in the New River AZ area and throughout the USA, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your New River home. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are many other issues that you need to consider in order to properly compare programs. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a complete superior education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can help in getting financial aid 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 New River AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This requirement may be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train 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 fulfill the requirement. Ask if the schools have associations with New River AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in New River AZ upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any help. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their New River AZ residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist technician school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the New River AZ area, make certain that they are available. 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 might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best New River Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where helping people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician programs include both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as 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 ideal choice. With the right education and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in New River Arizona.