How to Pick the Right Pharmacy Technician Program Near Knik Fairview Alaska
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Knik FairviewAK, you might be thinking about how to choose the right college to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. A number of future students start by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical concerns when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation must be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in studying at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Job of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have various job responsibilities, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Knik Fairview AK pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities 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 must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is a very satisfying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Knik Fairview AK pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Knik Fairview AK pharmacies 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 requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, 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 candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Schools
Before selecting a pharmacy tech online program, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Knik Fairview pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to receive some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Knik Fairview AK home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 instruction may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have decided whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician programs to pick from in the Knik Fairview AK area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Knik Fairview home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other factors that you must consider so that you may effectively compare programs. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Knik Fairview 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 all states, but many employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This condition can be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Knik Fairview Alaska area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial job in Knik Fairview AK upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some assistance. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Knik Fairview AK home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Knik Fairview AK area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Right Knik Fairview Pharmacy Technician School
Getting the ideal pharmacist tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where helping people with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech schools incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prep 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 compare colleges so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the proper education and determination you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in Knik Fairview Alaska.