How to Choose the Right Pharmacist Tech College Near College Alaska
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near CollegeAK, you might be pondering just how to select the right college to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many future students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant factors when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Function of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have numerous job functions, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling 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 dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to 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 literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily services a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare 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 most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational 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 overview to the different elements 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 other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many College AK employers will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant 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 only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacist tech online program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area College pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to acquire some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your College AK home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Courses
After you have determined whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacy tech colleges to pick from in the College AK area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your College residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you need to consider so that you may properly compare colleges. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded 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 complete superior education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many College AK employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech school should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This requirement can be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with College Alaska area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first position in College AK upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any support. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their College AK home. Individuals who have opted 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 importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently 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 person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist technician school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the College AK area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify 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 obligations.
Find the Right College Pharmacy Technician School
Getting the best pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech colleges include both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a program 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 follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the proper education and commitment you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in College Alaska.