Pharmacy Tech College
How to Select the Right One Near New River Arizona
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near New River AZ in order to receive the right training to build 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 zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are significant factors when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when reviewing 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 classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have many job responsibilities, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed New River AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily duties a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 alternatives to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved New River AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools opt to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of New River AZ employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, 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 applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Schools
Before selecting a pharmacy technician online school, it's important to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in a local New River pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to get some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your New River AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined 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 Programs
Once you have decided whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician programs to choose from in the New River AZ area and throughout the USA, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your New River home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are many other variables that you should take into consideration in order to properly compare programs. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a regional or national 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 complete superior education. Online programs may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it might help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many New River AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which can 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 technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with New River AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that first job in New River AZ upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult task without some help. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, ask 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 demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their New River AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the New River AZ area, make certain that they are offered. 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 need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find Out More on Becoming a Pharmacy Tech in New River
Enroll in the Right New River Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech schools include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to select a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the right training and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in New River Arizona.
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