Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Find the Best One Near Anchorage Alaska
Having decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Anchorage AK, you may be pondering how to select the ideal college to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are critical concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be evaluated also. You may also decide to look into a few accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifications 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 diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Anchorage AK pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may 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 provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very satisfying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two 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 typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Anchorage AK pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Anchorage AK pharmacies will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two 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 professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Before selecting a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Anchorage pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to get some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Anchorage AK home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online programs are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online program you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online classes might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have determined whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Anchorage AK area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Anchorage residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other issues that you should consider in order to properly compare programs. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it may help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Anchorage AK pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many employers prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist tech program should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This qualification can be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Anchorage AK area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Anchorage AK upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any help. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Anchorage AK residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy tech school you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Anchorage AK area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option 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 may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Learn More on Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in Anchorage
Choose the Best Anchorage Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech schools incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to enroll in a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the proper education and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Anchorage Alaska.
Anchorage Pharmacy Technician Certificate | Anchorage Pharmacy Technician Certificate Online