Pharmacy Technician Schools | Get Your Certificate or Degree – Atascadero CA

How to Choose a Pharmacist Tech School near Atascadero 93422

Atascadero CA pharmacy tech preparing prescriptionHaving decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Atascadero CA, you may be pondering just how to choose the best school to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of potential students begin by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will address 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 diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.

The Job of Pharmacy Techs

Atascadero CA pharmacy technician dispensing medsPharmacy technicians have many job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Atascadero CA pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist’s instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may 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 relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech might carry out are:

  • Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
  • Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
  • Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
  • Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
  • Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Stock shelves and audit and control inventory

Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career helping customers with their health and wellness.

Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees

Atascadero CA pharmacy medication supply shelvesStudents desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at {an approved|an accepted Atascadero CA pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.

Pharmacist Technician Certification Options

It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Atascadero CA employers will only employ a technician that is certified. 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 finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacist Tech Online Programs

woman attending pharmacy tech school online in Atascadero CAPrior to deciding on a pharmacy tech online college, it’s important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area Atascadero pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to obtain some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Atascadero CA home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the right option for you.

What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Colleges

Once you have determined whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacist tech schools to select from in the Atascadero CA area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Atascadero residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other factors that you need to take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.

Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a complete quality education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it might help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Atascadero CA employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.

Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician school needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This condition can be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.

Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied 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 practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Atascadero CA area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.

Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Atascadero CA after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some help. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.

Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Atascadero CA home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school 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 are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. 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 speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist technician program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Atascadero CA area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check 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 work, illness or family emergencies.

Enrolling in a Atascadero CA Pharmacy Tech School?

If you are planning to attend a Pharmacy Technician Certificate or Degree Program in the Atascadero California area, you may find the following background information about the location of your school campus interesting and informative.

Atascadero, California

Atascadero is a city in San Luis Obispo County, California, about equidistant from Los Angeles and San Francisco on U.S. Route 101. Atascadero is part of the San Luis Obispo - Atascadero - Paso Robles metropolitan area. Atascadero is farther inland than most other cities in the county, and as a result, usually experiences warmer, drier summers, and cooler winters than other nearby cities such as San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach. The main freeway through town is the US 101. The nearby State Routes 41 and 46 provide access to the Pacific Coast and the California Central Valley.

Atascadero is a Spanish word loosely translated as bog, from the verb "atascar" which means to become stuck or hindered. Also, in the Chumash language, Atascadero translates into a place of much water.

The area was originally home to the Salinan Indians. In the half century between 1769 and 1823 the Spanish Franciscans established 21 missions along the California coast, including the nearby Mission San Miguel Arcángel, and Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. In 1821, Mexico won its independence from Spain, and California became a Mexican province. In 1833, the Mexican government secularized the mission lands. Mexican Governor Juan Alvarado granted Rancho Atascadero to Trifon Garcia in 1842, and Pio Pico granted Pedro Estrada Rancho Asuncion in 1845. Patrick Washington Murphy held ownership of 61,000 acres (25,000 ha) at one time.

Choose the Best Pharmacy Tech Degree Program Atascadero CA

Atascadero CA corner drugstoreFinding the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where helping people with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were taught “on the job”. These days, most employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech programs include both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it’s essential to enroll in a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. And if you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the proper education and determination you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Atascadero CA.

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