Pharmacy Tech School
How to Select the Right One Near Eagle River Alaska
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Eagle River AK, you might be pondering how to select the right college to receive your education and training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students begin by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are important concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. And if you prefer attending classes in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover 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 degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have many job duties, 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 Eagle River AK pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily duties a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work after hours is a very satisfying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Eagle River AK pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Eagle River AK pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two 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, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only 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 Programs Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online program, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Eagle River pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to get some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Eagle River AK home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently less expensive 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 offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have determined whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacy tech colleges to select from in the Eagle River AK area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Eagle River home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other issues that you should consider in order to properly compare schools. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of 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 also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many Eagle River AK employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician college needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This requirement may be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work 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 satisfy the requirement. Ask if the schools have associations with Eagle River AK area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Eagle River AK upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting task without some support. Find out if the schools you are reviewing 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 field generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Eagle River AK home. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern 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 perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student 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 a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy tech college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Eagle River AK area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Eagle River Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the right pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where helping people with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the right education and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Eagle River Alaska.