Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Find the Best One Near Anchorage Alaska
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Anchorage AK, you might be wondering how to pick the best program to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. When looking for pharmacy technician schools, many potential students begin by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are significant concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. You may also decide to look into a few accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
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 options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Anchorage 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 provide a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Anchorage AK pharmacies will only employ a technician 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 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 candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online program, it's important to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Anchorage pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Anchorage AK home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized 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 instruction may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have determined whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech schools to choose from in the Anchorage AK area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Anchorage home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are many other variables that you should consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacist technician colleges 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it might assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Anchorage AK employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of employers prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This requirement may be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Anchorage AK area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial job in Anchorage AK upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some help. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Anchorage AK residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently 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 person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on 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 pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy tech school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Anchorage AK area, make sure that they are available. 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, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Anchorage Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician colleges include both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to select a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate training and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Anchorage Alaska.