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Pharmacy Technician Schools | Get Your Certificate or Degree – West des Moines IA

How to Choose a Pharmacy Technician College near West des Moines 50265

West des Moines IA pharmacy tech preparing prescriptionNow that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near West des Moines IA, you might be wondering just how to select the right program 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. Many potential students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important factors when deciding on a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. And if you are interested in studying in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let’s discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.

The Role of Pharmacy Technicians

West des Moines IA pharmacy technician dispensing medsPharmacy techs have numerous job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed West des Moines IA 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 preparing prescription medications 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 instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the common daily tasks a pharmacy tech may perform are:

  • Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
  • Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
  • Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
  • Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
  • Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Stock shelves and audit and control inventory

As a consequence 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 low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.

Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas

West des Moines IA pharmacy medication supply shelvesStudents wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at {an approved|an accepted West des Moines IA pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.

Pharmacist Technician Certification Options

It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of West des Moines IA pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:

  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
  • Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).

The NHA requirements are that the candidate 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 candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacist Tech Online Colleges

woman attending pharmacy tech school online in West des Moines IABefore choosing a pharmacist tech online school, it’s necessary to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in an area West des Moines pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your West des Moines IA home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical 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 verify that any online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the best choice for you.

What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Programs

After you have determined whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician programs to select from in the West des Moines IA area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your West des Moines residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other issues that you need to consider so that you may adequately compare colleges. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.

Is the Pharmacist Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with 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 may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of West des Moines IA pharmacies 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 all states, but many pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This requirement can be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.

Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with West des Moines IA area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.

Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in West des Moines IA upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting task without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their West des Moines IA residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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 type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the West des Moines IA area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.

Enrolling in a West des Moines IA Pharmacy Tech School?

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

West Des Moines, Iowa

West Des Moines is a city in Polk, Dallas, and Warren counties in the U.S. state of Iowa. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 56,609.[4][5] West Des Moines is the second-largest city in the Des Moines metropolitan area and the tenth-largest city in Iowa. It ranked 94th in Money magazine's list of the "100 Best Places to Live and Launch" in 2008, 77th and 57th on the 100 Best Places to Live in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and 18th on the Hipster Cities of 2015.[6][7][8]

The West Des Moines area used to be home to the Sac and Fox tribes. Near the stroke of midnight on October 11, 1845 a gunshot was fired by a cattle farmer, James Cunningham Jordan (1813–1893) and the tribes left. His residence, the Jordan House, has been restored and is now home to the West Des Moines Historical Society. In West Des Moines' early years, the town was a trading and shipping junction. West Des Moines incorporated as the city of Valley Junction on October 9, 1893.

In its early days Valley Junction was home to the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad's switching facilities and repair shops due to its location at the junction of several railroad lines. The Rock Island's facilities moved out of Valley Junction and back into Des Moines in 1936.

Find the Ideal Pharmacist Tech Training West des Moines IA

West des Moines IA corner drugstoreFinding the ideal pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were taught “on the job”. Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician programs incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have discussed in this article, it’s important to select a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. And if you follow our other suggestions 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 achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in West des Moines IA.

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