Category Archives: Iowa

Pharmacy Technician Schools | Get Your Certificate or Degree – Waterloo IA

How to Select a Pharmacist Tech College near Waterloo 50701

Waterloo IA pharmacy tech preparing prescriptionHaving decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Waterloo IA, you might be wondering how to select the ideal school to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. Many prospective students start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical factors when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. And if you prefer studying at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers 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 certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.

The Duties of Pharmacy Techs

Waterloo IA pharmacy technician dispensing medsPharmacy techs have various job responsibilities, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Waterloo IA pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist’s instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily functions a pharmacy tech might carry out are:

  • Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
  • Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
  • Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
  • Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
  • Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory

Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.

Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs

Waterloo IA pharmacy medication supply shelvesIndividuals 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 alternatives 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 usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at {an approved|an accepted Waterloo IA pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.

Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available

Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Waterloo IA pharmacies will only employ a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:

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

The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacist Tech Colleges Online

woman attending pharmacy tech school online in Waterloo IAPrior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online school, it’s important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Waterloo pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Waterloo IA home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged 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 classes might be the ideal choice for you.

Questions to Ask Pharmacist Tech Colleges

Once you have decided whether you want to attain 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 options. There are a large number of pharmacist tech programs to choose from in the Waterloo IA area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Waterloo residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other factors that you must take into consideration so that you may properly compare schools. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.

Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Waterloo IA employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.

Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician school should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This condition can be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.

Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Waterloo IA area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.

Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Waterloo IA after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult task without any support. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Waterloo IA home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide 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 often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Waterloo IA area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.

Enrolling in a Waterloo IA Pharmacy Tech School?

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

Waterloo, Iowa

Waterloo is a city in and the county seat of Black Hawk County, Iowa, United States.[4] As of the 2010 United States Census the population decreased by 0.5% to 68,406;[5] the 2016 Census estimates the population at 67,934, making it the sixth-largest city in the state.[3] The city is part of the Waterloo – Cedar Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area, and is the more populous of the two cities.

Waterloo was originally known as Prairie Rapids Crossing.[6] The town was established near two Meskwaki American tribal seasonal camps alongside the Cedar River. It was first settled in 1845 when George and Mary Melrose Hanna and their children arrived on the east bank of the Red Cedar River (now just called the Cedar River). They were followed by the Virden and Mullan families in 1846. Evidence of these earliest families can still be found in the street names Hanna Boulevard, Mullan Avenue and Virden Creek.

The name Waterloo supplanted the original name, Prairie Rapids Crossing, shortly after Charles Mullan petitioned for a post office in the town. Since the signed petition did not include the name of the proposed post office location, Mullan was charged with selecting the name when he submitted the petition. Tradition has it that as he flipped through a list of other post offices in the United States, he came upon the name Waterloo. The name struck his fancy, and on December 29, 1851, a post office was established under that name. The town was later called the same, and Mullan served as the first postmaster from December 29, 1851 until August 11, 1854.

Find the Best Pharmacist Technician College Waterloo IA

Waterloo IA corner drugstoreFinding the right pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were taught “on the job”. Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician programs include both classroom and clinical work. As we have addressed in this article, it’s important to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. And if you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the proper education and dedication you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Waterloo IA.

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