How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacist Tech Program Near Juneau Alaska
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near JuneauAK, you may be thinking about just how to choose the best college to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. A number of potential students begin by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important concerns when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation must be evaluated as well. And if you prefer attending classes in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program 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 benefits of online courses.
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The Job of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have various job duties, 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 excellent customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Enter 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
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very rewarding career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different 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 alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Available Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs choose to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Juneau AK employers will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Before deciding on a pharmacist tech online college, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in a local Juneau pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken 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 attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Schools
Once 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 start to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy tech programs to pick from in the Juneau AK area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Juneau home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other factors that you should consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Juneau AK employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many employers desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This condition can be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Juneau Alaska area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in Juneau AK after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult task without some help. Ask 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 indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Juneau AK residence. Students 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. One thing to keep in mind 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 often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist technician program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Juneau AK area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Juneau Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech schools incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to select a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the proper training and dedication you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Juneau Alaska.