SNOWFLAKE — In just four months, you could be working as a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) working in a retail or hospital pharmacy.
Northland Pioneer College’s Pharmacy Technician Training course this fall will prepare you for the national certification exam, required by most employers in this fast-paced healthcare field. CPhT training also provides a foundation for additional studies to become a registered pharmacist.
This intensive, eight-credit-hour course covers medical and pharmaceutical terminology, basic anatomy, pharmaceutical calculations, and prevention of medication errors. The ethics of pharmacy practice and the technician's role in this allied health profession are also covered. Students will also complete a 120-hour paid or unpaid externship, providing valuable job experience.
“I've been a (pharmacy) tech since I was 18, and was certified over a year ago,” said instructor Victoria Gray. “I trained at Fry's Pharmacy in Cottonwood, under one of the best pharmacists I have ever met.” Now the lead pharmacy tech at CVS in Show Low, Gray loves “learning all the drug uses and names.”
Most people are familiar with the retail pharmacy technician, but CPhT's are also employed in hospital or nursing home pharmacies, at research facilities and by insurance companies. Government agencies, such as branches of the armed services, federal drug agencies, and the National Institute of Health, offer positions for nationally registered technicians.
While retail will always pay less than a hospital, “most pharmacies will keep you around $11 per hour until you are certified. Pay is based on experience, recommendations, and your license,” Gray explained. “The nice thing about Show Low is how many pharmacies we have for such a small town. Pharmacies go through the hiring process very fast. If you want a job, you have to be very persistent and on the ball.”
Individuals interested in becoming pharmacy technicians can have no prior felony convictions or record of drug or substance abuse. Students must be 18 or older, have a GED or high school diploma, and have current health care provider CPR and First Aid certification. The CPR course is available through NPC (EMT 104) for $68. A Pharmacy Technician Training License ($46) is required from the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy. Before beginning the externship, students must obtain and acquire fingerprint clearance from the Arizona Department of Public Safety ($67).
The Pharmacy Technician Training (reference PHT 102-92358) class meets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 6 to 8:59 p.m., Aug. 19 through Dec. 4, on NPC's Snowflake campus, 1611 S. Main, in the Student Center, room 131.
Tuition for the eight-credit PHT 101 course is $528, plus a $40 course fee, $40 media fee, and textbook (±$116). To insure delivery before the first class session order books by Aug. 1. Students enrolling on or after Aug. 18 will be charged a $25 late registration fee.
Registration for fall classes is currently underway during regular business hours. As part of the registration process, you will need to verify your U.S. residency status. Your local NPC campus or center will provide details about required documentation. Students needing financial assistance should apply early, since it can take up to six weeks to complete the financial aid process. For more information, see an NPC academic adviser or contact the Financial Aid Office, (800) 266-7845, ext. 7318.
Pharmacy technician students may qualify for free or reduced-cost training through Arizona Workforce Connection, available online or through local Department of Economic Security offices, or the NE AZ Innovative Workforce Solutions.
“It is important to check with these agencies BEFORE registering for the Pharmacy Technician course,” stressed Peg Erdman, NPC's dean of Nursing and Allied Health programs. “Once you register, it is harder for these agencies to assist with the cost of tuition, fees and textbooks.”
For more information about NPC's Pharmacy Technician training program, contact an NPC academic adviser at the nearest NPC campus or center, or call the Nursing & Allied Health Division, (800) 266-7845, ext. 6136.
Northland Pioneer College serves the residents of Navajo and Apache counties through four regional campuses and five centers with a variety of educational options for academic, career and technical and personal enrichment. NPC supports each student's educational goals through affordable tuition, small class sizes and caring, professional instructors. For more information about NPC programs and services, call (800) 266-7845.
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