Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Select the Right One Near Knik Fairview Alaska
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Knik Fairview AK, you may be pondering just how to pick the right school to get your education and training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of future students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are critical concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation must be evaluated as well. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have many job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Knik Fairview AK pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Knik Fairview AK pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically 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 down the road. Each program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Knik Fairview AK pharmacies will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer 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 completed 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 examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Classes
Prior to choosing a pharmacy tech online college, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in an area Knik Fairview pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Knik Fairview 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 schools are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have determined whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist tech colleges to pick from in the Knik Fairview AK area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Knik Fairview home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other factors that you should take into consideration in order to effectively compare schools. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Knik Fairview AK employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician program should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This condition may be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Knik Fairview AK area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Knik Fairview AK after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult task without some support. Find out if the colleges 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 generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Knik Fairview AK home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools 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 final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Knik Fairview AK area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Knik Fairview Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech programs incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to choose a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the proper education and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Knik Fairview Alaska.