How to Select the Best Pharmacy Tech School Near Anchorage Alaska
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near AnchorageAK, you might be wondering just how to pick the right program to receive your education and training. Of course the initial step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. Many future students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are critical factors when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation must be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's review the certificate and degree options available.
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Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
A pharmacy technician diploma or certificate program can be completed in one year or less and provides the basic education and training needed to sit for the Certified Pharmacy Technician exam. These programs introduce students to basic concepts in pharmaceutical technology, record keeping, pharmacy law and ethics, and pharmacology. They typically include a combination of classroom learning and lab training so that students learn how to dispense medication, prepare sterile products, and manage prescription orders. Students interested in a more comprehensive educational experience can enroll in a pharmacy technician associate degree program. Although a degree is not required to apply for entry-level positions, some students choose to pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree so they can advance in their careers and apply for jobs as a compounding lab technician, pharmacy service technician, pharmacy implementation specialist or similar roles. Earning an associate degree can also help a student prepare for a Bachelor of Pharmacy or a bachelor’s degree in a related field.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Schools
After you have determined whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech programs to pick from in the Anchorage AK area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Anchorage home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are many other variables that you must consider so that you may effectively compare schools. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have acquired 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 furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Make sure to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Anchorage AK pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many employers desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This condition can be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Anchorage Alaska area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in Anchorage AK upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging task without any support. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Anchorage AK home. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy technician college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Anchorage AK area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses 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.
Enroll in the Right Anchorage Pharmacy Tech Course
Receiving the right pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their health is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech schools incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to select a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the right training and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Anchorage Alaska.