How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacy Tech College Near Juneau Alaska
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near JuneauAK, you might be pondering just how to pick the ideal college to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. A number of future students start by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important concerns when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Duties of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Juneau AK pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever give medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially 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 customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 alternatives to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various elements 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 involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Available Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Juneau AK pharmacies will only employ 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 applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, 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 examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Colleges Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacist technician online training program, it's important to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in an area Juneau pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech so as to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Juneau AK home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance 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 choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have decided whether you want to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy technician colleges to select from in the Juneau AK area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed 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 have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are several other variables that you must consider in order to adequately compare programs. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Many pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it might assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered 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 graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This qualification may be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get 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 satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Juneau Alaska area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Getting that initial position in Juneau AK upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some support. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting 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 local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Juneau AK area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Juneau Pharmacy Technician School
Receiving the right pharmacy tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians 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 technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech schools include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to select a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the appropriate training and dedication you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Juneau Alaska.