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The Role of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have many job responsibilities, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Arizona pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding directions 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 medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control 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, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very gratifying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Arizona pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about two 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 down the road. Each program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Arizona employers 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 requirements are 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 work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Programs Online
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online school, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Arizona pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Arizona home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important 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 agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the ideal choice for you.