How to Pick the Right Pharmacist Tech Program Near Mesa Arizona
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near MesaAZ, you might be pondering how to select the best college to receive your education and training. Of course the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical concerns when selecting a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be evaluated 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 included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have various job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Mesa 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 medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily functions a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer information 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 monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program 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 vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Mesa AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Mesa AZ employers will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Classes Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy tech online school, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Mesa pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive 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 alternative is more convenient for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online training might be the best solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Colleges
After you have determined whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are many pharmacy technician schools to choose from in the Mesa AZ area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare 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 Mesa home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are many other issues that you must consider in order to properly compare colleges. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges 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). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it might assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require 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 Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Mesa Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Securing that initial job in Mesa AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some help. Find out if the colleges 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 profession creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Mesa AZ residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist technician program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Mesa AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Find Out How to Learn to Become a Pharmacy Tech in Mesa
Enroll in the Right Mesa Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the ideal pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate training and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Mesa Arizona.