Pharmacy Tech College
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Nogales Arizona
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Nogales AZ, you may be pondering just how to select the best program to get your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important factors when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. And if you are interested in studying in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have various job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Nogales AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is a very rewarding career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be 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 offer an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Nogales AZ pharmacy or other 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 offer a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Nogales AZ employers will only employ a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, 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 graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Before deciding on a pharmacist technician online training program, it's important to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in an area Nogales pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Nogales AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, especially for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online training might be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician programs to pick from in the Nogales AZ area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Nogales home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other factors that you should consider so that you may properly compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a complete superior education. Online programs may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Nogales AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This requirement can be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Nogales AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first position in Nogales AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without some support. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Nogales AZ residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Nogales AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Nogales Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to select a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate education and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Nogales Arizona.