Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Select the Right One Near El Mirage Arizona
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near El Mirage AZ, you might be wondering how to select the right college to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students start by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are significant factors when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy techs have numerous job responsibilities, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed El Mirage AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 options to training to be a technician 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 completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved El Mirage AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many El Mirage AZ pharmacies will only hire 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, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online program, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area El Mirage pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your El Mirage AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance 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 might be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
Once you have decided whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy technician colleges to choose from in the El Mirage AZ area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your El Mirage 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 many other variables that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare programs. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacist tech programs 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a complete quality education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many El Mirage AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech college should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech 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 schools have associations with El Mirage AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that first job in El Mirage AZ after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult task without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement 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 relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their El Mirage AZ home. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist tech school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the El Mirage AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right El Mirage Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech colleges include both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to select a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the proper training and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in El Mirage Arizona.