How to Select the Best Pharmacy Technician Course Near Mesa Arizona
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near MesaAZ, you may be wondering just how to select the right program to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. A number of future students start by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. And if you prefer studying at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Job of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have numerous job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Mesa AZ pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily services a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock 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 weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is a very gratifying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree and Certificate Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Mesa AZ pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 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. Each program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Mesa AZ pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Colleges Online
Before selecting a pharmacist technician online school, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in a local Mesa pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to get some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Mesa AZ home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online programs are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each 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 disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you wish to obtain 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 alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech colleges to select from in the Mesa AZ area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Mesa home. 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 variables that you need to consider in order to adequately compare schools. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it can help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Mesa AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician college should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This qualification can be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Mesa Arizona area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Mesa AZ after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some help. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Mesa AZ residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Mesa AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Best Mesa Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician schools include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the right training and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Mesa Arizona.