How to Choose the Best Pharmacist Technician Course Near Juneau Alaska
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near JuneauAK, you might be wondering how to choose the best program to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many potential students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant factors when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Job of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have numerous job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Juneau AK pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily functions a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work after hours is a very satisfying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade 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 overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Juneau AK pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed 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 should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Juneau AK employers will only hire a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the candidate 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 only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online school, it's important to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in a local Juneau pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Juneau AK home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any 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 learn with a less supervised form of education, then online training may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Colleges
After you have determined whether you want to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician colleges to select from in the Juneau AK area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Juneau home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are many other factors that you must consider so that you may adequately compare programs. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Juneau AK pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This qualification can be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Juneau Alaska area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in Juneau AK upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any assistance. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Juneau AK residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously 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 decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on 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 pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Juneau AK area, confirm 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 have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Juneau Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician programs incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the right training and determination you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Juneau Alaska.