How to Pick the Best Pharmacy Tech Course Near College Alaska
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near CollegeAK, you may be wondering how to select the right college to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. A number of potential students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, 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 should be taken into account also. And if you prefer attending classes in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because 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 interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very satisfying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted College AK pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Available Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many College AK pharmacies will only employ a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy tech online training program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in a local College pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your College AK home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized 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 training might be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Courses
Once you have decided whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech programs to choose from in the College AK area and throughout the Country, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your College residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other factors that you should take into consideration so that you may effectively compare programs. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Make sure to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of College AK employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician school needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This requirement can be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with College Alaska area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in College AK upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any assistance. Ask 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 indication that the school has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their College AK home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble 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 choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist technician program you finally pick can provide 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, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right College Pharmacy Technician Program
Getting the right pharmacist tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where helping customers with their wellness is your mission. In the past, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician programs incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the right training and determination you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in College Alaska.