How to Select the Right Pharmacist Technician Course Near College Alaska
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near CollegeAK, you may be wondering how to choose the best college to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important concerns when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Function of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have multiple job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed College AK pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is a very rewarding career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree and Certificate Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved College AK pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many College AK pharmacies will only employ a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Online Schools
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist technician online training program, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local College pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to get some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your College AK home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are many pharmacy tech colleges to select from in the College AK area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your College residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are several other factors that you should take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of College AK employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech college should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This requirement can be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with College Alaska area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Securing that first position in College AK after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some help. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their College AK residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically 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 student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist technician school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the College AK area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right College Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the ideal pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where helping people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician colleges incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the proper education and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacist tech in College Alaska.