How to Choose the Best Pharmacist Tech Training Program Near Eagle River Alaska
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Eagle RiverAK, you may be thinking about just how to pick the right program to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to locate colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. Many prospective students start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical factors when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be evaluated as well. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Role of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Eagle River AK pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared 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 technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two options to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Eagle River AK pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Eagle River AK employers will only employ 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 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 graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist technician online program, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in a local Eagle River pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Eagle River AK home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged 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 classes might be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Courses
After you have decided whether you wish 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 pharmacy tech programs to choose from in the Eagle River AK area and throughout the USA, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Eagle River home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other issues that you should take into consideration so that you may properly compare colleges. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online programs 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 degree or certificate program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Eagle River AK employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech college should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This requirement can be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be met by means of 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 clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Eagle River Alaska area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Eagle River AK after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult task without some support. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing 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 school has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Eagle River AK residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Eagle River AK area, check 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 carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Eagle River Pharmacy Technician Program
Finding the best pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where helping customers with their health is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech programs include both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to select a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the appropriate training and commitment you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in Eagle River Alaska.