How to Pick the Best Pharmacy Technician School Near Juneau Alaska
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near JuneauAK, you might be pondering just how to choose the right school to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of future students start by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant factors when selecting a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Function of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Juneau AK pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help 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 regarding prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. 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 earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Juneau AK pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Juneau AK pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Colleges Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist tech online school, it's important to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in a local Juneau pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to obtain some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Juneau AK home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction might be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Juneau AK area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Juneau residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you need to consider in order to effectively compare schools. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacist Tech Program Accredited? Many pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a complete superior education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Juneau AK employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech program should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This condition can be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Juneau Alaska area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Juneau AK upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some assistance. Find out if the schools you are considering 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 school has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Juneau AK residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for 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 prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Juneau AK area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Juneau Pharmacy Technician Course
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy technicians 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 technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician schools include both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to choose a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the proper training and determination you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Juneau Alaska.