How to Choose the Right Pharmacist Tech School Near College Alaska
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near CollegeAK, you may be wondering just how to choose the best program to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical factors when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy techs have multiple job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed College AK pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a tech whether 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 present an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted College AK pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools choose to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many College AK employers will only hire a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that offer 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 work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Classes Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online college, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in an area College pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to receive some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your College AK home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as 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 might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Programs
Once you have decided whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy tech schools to choose from in the College AK area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your College home. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other variables that you should take into consideration in order to properly compare colleges. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it might assist in securing 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 a number of College AK pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate 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, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in College AK after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any assistance. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their College AK residence. Individuals who have opted 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. Something to bear 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 typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the College AK area, verify that they are available. 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 carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best College Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the ideal pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where helping people with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most employers 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. The majority of pharmacy technician programs incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the proper training and determination you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in College Alaska.