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The Duties of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have various job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Alaska pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority 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 sometimes being required to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degree and Certificate Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 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 diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Alaska pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically 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 down the road. Each program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Available Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Alaska 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 completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Schools Online
Before selecting a pharmacist tech online college, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in a local Alaska pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to get some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Alaska home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, especially for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the ideal solution for you.