Pharmacy Tech College
How to Choose the Right One Near Fairbanks Alaska
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Fairbanks AK so you can get the right training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. Naturally the initial step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many potential students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. You might also choose to research a few accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Fairbanks AK pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Fairbanks AK employers will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 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, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work 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 satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Colleges
Prior to choosing a pharmacy tech online school, it's important to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Fairbanks 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 acquire some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Fairbanks AK home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as 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 may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have determined whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacy tech colleges to pick from in the Fairbanks AK area and throughout the USA, so you should 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 first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Fairbanks home. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are many other issues that you should consider in order to properly compare schools. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it might help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many Fairbanks AK pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech college should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This requirement can be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Fairbanks AK area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Fairbanks AK upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting task without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are researching 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 school has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Fairbanks AK home. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist technician college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fairbanks AK area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Fairbanks Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the ideal pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where helping people with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech programs incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the right training and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Fairbanks Alaska.