How to Select the Best Pharmacist Technician Program Near Fairbanks Alaska
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near FairbanksAK, you might be pondering how to choose the right program to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. Many potential students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important concerns when selecting a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation must be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in studying at home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the diploma and degree options available.
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Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
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.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have decided whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacy tech programs to choose from in the Fairbanks AK area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Fairbanks residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other factors that you must consider in order to adequately compare schools. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Make sure to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it might help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require 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 Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many employers prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech program needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This qualification can be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on 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 an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Fairbanks Alaska area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Fairbanks AK upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult task without some help. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Fairbanks AK home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist technician program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fairbanks AK area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Right Fairbanks Pharmacy Technician Program
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their health is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician schools include both classroom and clinical work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to select a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes and 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 best selection. With the proper education and commitment you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Fairbanks Alaska.