Pharmacy Tech School
How to Choose the Right One Near Fairbanks Alaska
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Fairbanks AK, you might be wondering just how to choose the ideal college to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. 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 cost and location are critical concerns when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be evaluated as well. You might also want to take a look at several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job duties, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Fairbanks AK pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is a very fulfilling career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Fairbanks AK pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Fairbanks AK employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 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 professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Colleges
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist tech online college, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Fairbanks pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to receive some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Fairbanks AK home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
Once you have decided whether you want to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician programs to choose from in the Fairbanks AK area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Fairbanks home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other factors that you should take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have obtained 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 evaluated and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it can help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many Fairbanks 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 all states, but a number of employers prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This condition can be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Fairbanks AK area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Securing that initial job in Fairbanks AK after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult task without any support. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Fairbanks AK residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally 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 way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fairbanks AK area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative 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 work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Fairbanks Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the right pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting customers with their health is your objective. In the past, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech schools incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the appropriate education and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Fairbanks Alaska.