How to Select the Best Pharmacist Technician Course Near Knik Fairview Alaska
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Knik FairviewAK, you might be thinking about just how to select the right school to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. A number of potential students start by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important factors when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation must be evaluated also. And if you prefer attending classes in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Function of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have various job functions, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform 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 precise when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the common daily functions a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature 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 low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Knik Fairview AK pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Knik Fairview AK employers will only employ 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 at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Programs
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online training program, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Knik Fairview pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Knik Fairview AK home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online schools are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online school you are considering 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 formal type of education, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Programs
Once you have decided whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are many pharmacy tech schools to select from in the Knik Fairview AK area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Knik Fairview residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other factors that you need to consider in order to effectively compare schools. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Make sure to verify that the degree or certificate program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Knik Fairview AK employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician college should ready 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 may be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which may be met 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 tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Knik Fairview Alaska area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that first job in Knik Fairview AK upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting task without any help. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Knik Fairview AK residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Knik Fairview AK area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses 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 emergencies.
Find the Best Knik Fairview Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the right pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech colleges include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to enroll in a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the right training and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Knik Fairview Alaska.