Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Pick the Best One Near Mesa Arizona
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Mesa AZ so you can get the right training to build a career in the rewarding field of medicine. Of course the initial step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. A number of future students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical factors when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have many job functions, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Mesa AZ pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever give medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely satisfying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Mesa AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Mesa AZ 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 requires that the applicant 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 candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online college, it's important to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Mesa pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Mesa AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician programs to pick from in the Mesa AZ area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Mesa residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are several other issues that you must take into consideration so that you may effectively compare schools. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional 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 furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Mesa AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech college should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This qualification can be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get 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 prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Mesa AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that first job in Mesa AZ after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without some support. Ask if the colleges 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 an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates 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 have to be within driving distance of their Mesa AZ residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist technician 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 must schedule night or weekend classes in the Mesa AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Find Out More on How to Become a Pharmacy Tech in Mesa
Enroll in the Right Mesa Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to enroll in a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the right training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Mesa Arizona.
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