How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacist Tech Course Near Eagle River Alaska
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Eagle RiverAK, you may be wondering how to choose the ideal college to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of potential students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Eagle River AK pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the common daily tasks a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very gratifying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 alternatives to training to be a technician whether 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 offer an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Eagle River AK pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Eagle River AK pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, 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 required every 2 years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Eagle River pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to receive some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Eagle River AK home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, 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 may be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Courses
Once you have determined whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacist tech programs to select from in the Eagle River AK area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Eagle River residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you must take into consideration in order to properly compare schools. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a complete quality education. Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Make sure to check 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. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it might help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Eagle River AK pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many employers desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This condition can be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the programs have associations with Eagle River Alaska area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial job in Eagle River AK upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance 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 profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Eagle River AK home. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Eagle River AK area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Eagle River Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the best pharmacist technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician colleges include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to choose a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the right training and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Eagle River Alaska.