How to Choose the Right Pharmacist Tech Program Near Fairbanks Alaska
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near FairbanksAK, you may be thinking about just how to choose the right program to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important factors when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be evaluated as well. And if you prefer attending classes in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's review the diploma and degree options available.
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Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
A pharmacy technician diploma or certificate program can be completed in one year or less and provides the basic education and training needed to sit for the Certified Pharmacy Technician exam. These programs introduce students to basic concepts in pharmaceutical technology, record keeping, pharmacy law and ethics, and pharmacology. They typically include a combination of classroom learning and lab training so that students learn how to dispense medication, prepare sterile products, and manage prescription orders. Students interested in a more comprehensive educational experience can enroll in a pharmacy technician associate degree program. Although a degree is not required to apply for entry-level positions, some students choose to pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree so they can advance in their careers and apply for jobs as a compounding lab technician, pharmacy service technician, pharmacy implementation specialist or similar roles. Earning an associate degree can also help a student prepare for a Bachelor of Pharmacy or a bachelor’s degree in a related field.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Programs
Once you have decided whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacy tech schools to pick from in the Fairbanks AK area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Fairbanks residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are many other variables that you should take into consideration so that you may effectively compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Fairbanks AK employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician program should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Fairbanks Alaska area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Fairbanks AK after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some 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 higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Fairbanks AK residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist technician school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fairbanks AK area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Right Fairbanks Pharmacy Technician Course
Finding the ideal pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where helping people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech colleges include both classroom and clinical training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to choose a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the proper education and determination you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Fairbanks Alaska.