How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacist Tech College Near Eagle River Alaska
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Eagle RiverAK, you might be pondering how to select the best college to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important concerns when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. And if you are interested in studying in your 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 qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Duties of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have numerous job responsibilities, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Eagle River AK pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily duties a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out 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 weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to becoming a technician 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 accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Eagle River AK pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Eagle River AK employers will only hire a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Online Classes
Before selecting a pharmacist technician online school, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in an area Eagle River pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to acquire some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Eagle River AK home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are looking at 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 supervised form of education, then online training might be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have determined whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist technician colleges to pick from in the Eagle River AK area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Eagle River residence. If you are willing to relocate 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 issues that you must take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacist technician programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program together with the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it might help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require 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 required in all states, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech program should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Eagle River Alaska area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that initial job in Eagle River AK upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting task without any support. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Eagle River AK home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes 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 keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist technician school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Eagle River AK area, make certain 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 have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Eagle River Pharmacy Technician Program
Receiving the right pharmacist technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech programs incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the right education and commitment you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in Eagle River Alaska.