How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacy Technician Program Near Fairbanks Alaska
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near FairbanksAK, you may be wondering how to select the ideal school to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many potential students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. And if you are interested in studying at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Role of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have various job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Fairbanks AK pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Fairbanks AK pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs choose to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Fairbanks AK employers will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished 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 two years by each program, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Classes Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacist tech online college, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in a local Fairbanks pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Fairbanks AK home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online classes might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have determined whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacy tech programs to select from in the Fairbanks AK area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Fairbanks home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are many other factors that you should consider in order to effectively compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have obtained a national or regional 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 quality education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program together with the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training 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 Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many employers desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech college should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This qualification may be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with Fairbanks Alaska area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in Fairbanks AK after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some assistance. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, 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 field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Fairbanks AK home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry 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 choose to enroll in a program 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 generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost 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 classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy tech school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fairbanks AK area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Fairbanks Pharmacy Technician School
Receiving the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician programs incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to choose a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the right training and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Fairbanks Alaska.