Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Select the Right One Near College Alaska
Now it’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near College AK in order to receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. When looking for pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students start by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are critical concerns when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be taken into account 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 program will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have many job responsibilities, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed College AK pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily functions a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is a very gratifying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved College AK pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of College AK employers will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer 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 completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online training 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 typically fulfilled in an area College pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your College AK home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training might be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have determined whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacy technician programs to pick from in the College AK area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your College residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other issues that you must take into consideration so that you may effectively compare schools. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a comprehensive quality 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 check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it might help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many College AK pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech school should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This condition may be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with College AK area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in College AK after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any assistance. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their College AK home. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist tech college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the College AK area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best College Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where helping people with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician colleges include both classroom and clinical work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to select a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the proper education and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in College Alaska.