Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Find the Best One Near Oro Valley Arizona
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Oro Valley AZ in order to receive the right training to build a career in the rewarding field of medicine. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? Many future students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Oro Valley AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Oro Valley AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the necessary 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 every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Oro Valley AZ employers will only hire a tech 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 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy tech online training program, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in a local Oro Valley pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Oro Valley AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the best option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have decided whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician colleges to pick from in the Oro Valley AZ area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Oro Valley residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are several other issues that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare schools. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional 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 comprehensive quality education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Oro Valley AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of employers prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician college should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This qualification may be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways 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 clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Oro Valley AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Oro Valley AZ after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting task without any support. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, 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 field generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Oro Valley AZ residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist technician program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Oro Valley AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. 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.
Choose the Right Oro Valley Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech programs incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to select a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the appropriate education and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Oro Valley Arizona.