Pharmacy Tech College
How to Pick the Best One Near Eagle River Alaska
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Eagle River AK, you may be wondering just how to pick the best school to get your education and training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are significant concerns when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. You may also want to research some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will address 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 benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Eagle River AK pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two options to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Eagle River AK pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically 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 down the road. Each program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Eagle River AK employers will only hire 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 candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished 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 called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online school, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Eagle River pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to receive 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 alternative is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have determined whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist technician colleges to choose from in the Eagle River AK area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast 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 driving distance from your Eagle River home. If you are willing to move 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 so that you may properly compare schools. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have obtained a regional or national 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 colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you get a superior education, it can assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Eagle River AK pharmacies 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 mandated in every state, but many pharmacies desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician college should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This qualification may be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which may be met 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 certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Eagle River AK area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Finding that first job in Eagle River AK upon graduation, particularly with no prior 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 high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Eagle River AK residence. Individuals who have opted 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 importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Eagle River AK area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Eagle River Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a gratifying profession where helping people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech schools incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to select a school 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 schools so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the appropriate training and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Eagle River Alaska.