Category Archives: District of Columbia

What It Takes To Be A Pharmacy Technician Washington DC

How to Select the Right Pharmacy Technician Program near Washington District of Columbia

Washington DC pharmacy tech counting pillsNow that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Washington DC, you might be thinking about just how to pick the best college to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical factors when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. And if you are interested in studying at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let’s take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.

The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Technician

Washington DC pharmacy technician filling prescriptionPharmacy technicians have multiple job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Washington DC pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist’s directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily services a pharmacy tech may perform are:

  • Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
  • Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
  • Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
  • Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
  • Complete 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 evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting people with their health and wellness.

Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas

local Washington DC drugstoreIndividuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at {an approved|an accepted Washington DC pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.

Pharmacist Tech Online Programs

woman attending online pharmacy technician school in Washington DCBefore choosing a pharmacist tech online training program, it’s necessary to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in an area Washington pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Washington DC home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, notably for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online training may be the ideal choice for you.

Pharmacist Tech Certification Options

It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs opt to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Washington DC employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:

  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
  • Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).

The NHA requirements are that the candidate 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 candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.

Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges

Questions to ask Washington DC pharmacy tech schoolsAfter you have determined whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacy technician programs to select from in the Washington DC area and throughout the Country, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Washington home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are many other variables that you need to consider so that you may adequately compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.

Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete quality education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Don’t forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it can help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Washington DC 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 many pharmacies desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.

Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with 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 technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Washington DC area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.

Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first position in Washington DC after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any support. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Washington DC home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Washington DC area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.

Attending a Washington DC Pharmacy Tech School?

If you are planning to attend a Pharmacy Technician Certificate or Degree Program in the Washington District of Columbia area, you may find the following information about the location of your future school campus both interesting and informative.

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States.[4] Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, first President of the United States and Founding Father.[5] Washington is the principal city of the Washington metropolitan area, which has a population of 6,131,977.[6] As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, the city is an important world political capital.[7] Washington is one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million annual tourists.[8][9]

The signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country's East Coast. The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and the District is therefore not a part of any state. The states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the pre-existing settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria. The City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. In 1846, Congress returned the land originally ceded by Virginia; in 1871, it created a single municipal government for the remaining portion of the District.

Washington had an estimated population of 693,972 as of July 2017[update], making it the 20th largest American city by population. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city's daytime population to more than one million during the workweek. The Washington metropolitan area, of which the District is the principal city, has a population of over 6 million, the sixth-largest metropolitan statistical area in the country.

All three branches of the U.S. federal government are centered in the District: U.S. Congress (legislative), President (executive), and the U.S. Supreme Court (judicial). Washington is home to many national monuments and museums, which are primarily situated on or around the National Mall. The city hosts 177 foreign embassies as well as the headquarters of many international organizations, trade unions, non-profit, lobbying groups, and professional associations, including the Organization of American States, AARP, the National Geographic Society, the Human Rights Campaign, the International Finance Corporation, and the American Red Cross.

Get Information on What It Takes To Be A Pharmacy Technician Washington DC

Washington DC pharmacy stocked medicationsGetting the right pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacy techs were taught “on the job”. Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it’s necessary to choose a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. You originally came to this website due to an interest in What It Takes To Be A Pharmacy Technician. But if you follow our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the right education and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Washington DC.

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    The information contained in this web site is being made available as a public service by the District Of Columbia Department of Health. No posted information or material provided is intended to constitute legal or professional advice.

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