How to Find the Right Pharmacy Tech Course Near Fairbanks Alaska
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near FairbanksAK, you might be thinking about just how to pick the right school to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many potential students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. And if you are interested in studying at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Duties of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have many job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Fairbanks AK pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the common daily functions a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially 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 a very satisfying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Fairbanks AK pharmacy or other facility. The second option 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 extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Fairbanks AK employers will only hire a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Colleges Online
Before deciding on a pharmacist tech online program, it's important to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in a local Fairbanks pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Fairbanks AK home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example 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 right option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have decided whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech programs to select from in the Fairbanks AK area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources 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 important. But there are several other factors that you must consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have obtained 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 evaluated and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Fairbanks AK employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This condition can be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Fairbanks Alaska area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in Fairbanks AK upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a challenging task without any support. Ask if the colleges you are researching 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 school has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Fairbanks AK residence. Students who have decided 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 importance. Something to consider is that if you choose 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy tech program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fairbanks AK area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Fairbanks Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the best pharmacist tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician colleges include both clinical and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the proper training and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Fairbanks Alaska.