Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Enroll In the Best One Near Juneau Alaska
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Juneau AK, you might be pondering just how to pick the ideal college to receive 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 schools, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are critical concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated also. And if you prefer attending classes at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in 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 discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have many job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Juneau AK pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever give medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the common daily services a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor 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, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is a very rewarding career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program 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 certificate or a diploma, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Juneau AK pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Juneau 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 requirements are 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 professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online school, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in a local Juneau 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 real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Juneau AK home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have decided whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are many pharmacy technician schools to choose from in the Juneau AK area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Juneau home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are many other factors that you need to take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you get a quality education, it might help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Juneau AK pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This requirement can be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Juneau AK area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Juneau AK after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some help. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, 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 indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Juneau 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 concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Juneau AK area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Juneau Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where helping people with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician colleges 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 prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the proper training and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Juneau Alaska.