Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Pick the Best One Near College Alaska
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near College AK, you might be thinking about how to select the right school to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. A number of potential students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important factors when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home by means 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 address these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have many job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed College AK pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help 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 provide medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily duties a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is a very gratifying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved College AK pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of College AK employers 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 requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy tech online program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in a local College pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to get some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your College AK home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, especially for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be decreased 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 employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as 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 right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have determined whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy tech programs to select from in the College AK area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your College home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you should take into consideration in order to properly compare colleges. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a complete quality education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it can help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of College 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 all states, but many pharmacies desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician college needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This requirement may be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with College AK area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in College AK upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any help. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their College AK home. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech school you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the College AK area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right College Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician colleges include both clinical and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to enroll in a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the appropriate training and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in College Alaska.