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How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacy Tech Program Near El Mirage Arizona

El Mirage Arizona pharmacy technician taking prescription from shelfNow that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near El MirageAZ, you might be pondering just how to choose the ideal college to receive your education and training. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant factors when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. And if you are interested in studying at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.

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The Function of a Pharmacy Tech

El Mirage Arizona hospital pharmacy technician wearing lab coat

Pharmacy techs have various job duties, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed El Mirage AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities 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 a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy technician may carry out are:

  • Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
  • Fill prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
  • Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
  • Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
  • Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory

As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career assisting customers with their health and wellness.

Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates

El Mirage Arizona pharmacy stockStudents desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab 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 normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.

Pharmacy Tech Certifications

It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many El Mirage AZ pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:

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

The NHA requirements are 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 work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacy Tech Programs Online

El Mirage Arizona young female student taking pharmacy tech training onlineBefore choosing a pharmacist technician online school, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in an area El Mirage pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to get some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your El Mirage AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, especially for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the best option for you.

Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Colleges

Once you have decided whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech schools to select 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 colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your El Mirage home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other issues that you must take into consideration in order to effectively compare colleges. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.

Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a complete superior education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you get a quality education, it can assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many El Mirage AZ pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.

Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.

Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with El Mirage Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.

Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that first job in El Mirage AZ upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting task without some assistance. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their El Mirage AZ home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering 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 a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the El Mirage AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn How to Train to Become a Pharmacy Technician in El Mirage

Find the Best El Mirage Pharmacy Technician Program

Getting the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting customers with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the right education and dedication you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in El Mirage Arizona.



 

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