How to Choose the Best Pharmacy Technician School Near College Alaska
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near CollegeAK, you may be pondering just how to select the ideal school to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. A number of potential students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant factors when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Duties of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have many job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed College AK pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved College AK pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many College AK pharmacies will only employ a technician 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 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Before deciding on a pharmacist technician online training program, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in an area College pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to receive some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your College AK home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Courses
Once you have determined whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician programs to select from in the College AK area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your College residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other factors that you should take into consideration so that you may adequately compare colleges. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have acquired 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 comprehensive superior education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Make sure to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many College AK 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 every state, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician school needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This qualification can be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with College Alaska area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in College AK upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their College AK residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer 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 students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist technician school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the College AK area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check 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 may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Right College Pharmacy Technician Course
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is an important first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician schools incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the appropriate education and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacist technician in College Alaska.