Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Choose the Best One Near El Mirage Arizona
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near El Mirage AZ so you can get the right training to begin a career in the rewarding field of medicine. Naturally the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students begin by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are important factors when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need 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 programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy techs have multiple job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed El Mirage AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily services a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. 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 occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved El Mirage AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools opt to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of El Mirage AZ pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, 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 mandated every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacist technician online program, it's important to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area El Mirage pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order 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 convenient for many students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online training may be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
Once you have decided whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist technician schools to choose from in the El Mirage AZ area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your El Mirage home. 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 several other factors that you must consider so that you may properly compare programs. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it might help in acquiring financial aid 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 El Mirage AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech school needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with El Mirage AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in El Mirage AZ upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some help. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their El Mirage AZ residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for 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 back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy technician college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the El Mirage AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right El Mirage Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where helping people with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists 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. Most pharmacy technician colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to select a program 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 make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the proper training and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in El Mirage Arizona.