Pharmacy Tech School
How to Pick the Right One Near Juneau Alaska
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Juneau AK, you might be thinking about how to pick the best school to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are important concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation must be evaluated also. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have various job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Juneau AK pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call 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 most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is a very fulfilling career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two alternatives 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 typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Juneau AK pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Juneau AK employers will only employ a tech 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 applicant be 18 years or older, 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 applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacist technician online school, it's important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in a local Juneau pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to obtain some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Juneau AK home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, especially for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online classes may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are many pharmacist tech schools to choose from in the Juneau AK area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Juneau residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are several other variables that you need to take into consideration so that you may effectively compare schools. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges 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 evaluated and certified to furnish a complete superior education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Juneau AK employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician school needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This condition may be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with Juneau AK area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in Juneau AK after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult task without any help. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Juneau AK home. Students who have opted 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. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school 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 usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Juneau AK area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Find Out More about How to Become a Pharmacy Tech in Juneau
Choose the Right Juneau Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the right pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech schools incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to select a college 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 additional suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the appropriate training and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Juneau Alaska.
Juneau Pharmacy Technician Training | Juneau Pharmacy Technician Courses