Pharmacy Tech School
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Oro Valley Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Oro Valley AZ, you might be thinking about just how to choose the ideal college to receive your education and training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? When looking for pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are critical factors when picking a school, they are not the sole 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 research some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have various job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Oro Valley AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily services a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Oro Valley AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 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 down the road. Each program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Oro Valley AZ pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that provide 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 completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online program, it's important to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in an area Oro Valley pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to get some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Oro Valley AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction may be the right solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have decided whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacist tech programs to select from in the Oro Valley AZ area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Oro Valley residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are many other issues that you must consider so that you may effectively compare programs. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a complete superior education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Oro Valley AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist tech program needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This qualification may be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great 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? Finding that first job in Oro Valley AZ upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging task without any support. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Oro Valley AZ home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Oro Valley AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Learn More about How to Become a Pharmacy Tech in Oro Valley
Enroll in the Right Oro Valley Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the proper training and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Oro Valley Arizona.
Oro Valley Pharmacy Technician Schools | Oro Valley Pharmacy Technician Training