Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Mesa Arizona
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Mesa AZ, you might be wondering how to pick the right college to receive your education and training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Many prospective students start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical concerns when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. You might also choose to look into several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 options to becoming 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 usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Mesa AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Mesa AZ employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two 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 finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online school, it's important to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Mesa pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to get some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Mesa AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have decided whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician colleges to pick from in the Mesa AZ area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Mesa residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are many other factors that you should take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it might help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Mesa AZ employers 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 required in every state, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement may be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Mesa AZ area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Mesa AZ upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult task without some support. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Mesa AZ home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally 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 person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. 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 speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Mesa AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Learn More about Becoming a Pharmacy Tech in Mesa
Enroll in the Right Mesa Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the right pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician programs include both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the proper education and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Mesa Arizona.
Mesa Pharmacy Tech Schools Online | Mesa Pharmacy Technician Certificate