Pharmacy Technician Certification Online
Pharmacy technicians are best served when they pursue programs that groom them for certification and then state licensure. While not every state requires either, if you do qualify for certification you may find that your employment options rise significantly. Further, you will be better able to move to new states and maintain your career without much bother. If you are certified from one of the two national agencies, you should have no problem finding a state that recognizes and will offer you a license by a process of reciprocity.
These days, you can pursue the requisite education for certification via an online institution.
Who needs an online pharm tech certification?
All sorts of students come to online pharmacy tech programs seeking certification. They all seem to have one thing in common: a need for flexible scheduling. New students include, but are not limited to the following:
Military Students: Military students frequently are looking to secure some sort of life for themselves once they leave their tours of duty. They need extra education to pursue interesting and fruitful careers, but their military schedules and general lifestyles don’t always agree with the structures of a traditional campus education. For example, they may be deployed at a moment’s notice, or transferred out of their state or country when they least expect it.
Career Changers: Frequently, older students are in jobs they have outgrown. They are seeking new challenges in a growing field. They see pharmacy tech as a great way to explore all of the science and math they have missed in their current jobs, while being able to interact with the public and perform a service to countless patients on the road to recovery. They cannot afford to take much time from their jobs, so the flexibility of an online program is perfect for them.
Rural Students: Young and older students alike have a hard time overcoming geographical barriers to education. It may not be feasible to move to another town to pursue a certification course, but there are online schools that will bridge the gap. In fact, there may be traditional-campus community colleges that can satisfy the needs of the online student. Then if it becomes possible to move or commute, the student can attend courses in a real-world setting, if that is desirable.
Parents: Kids take a lot of time, as do spouses. Parents who are trying to feed everyone, take them all to school and soccer practice and still put dinner on the table, may have a hard time attending regularly scheduled courses. For those harried parents who are eager to get back to work, online courses are perfect. They can still be there for the young ones during the precious early years, but also take educational steps towards a new, promising career.
Why Take a Course Online
Online courses offer the student so much flexibility. It’s easy to register and attend courses, and you don’t have to stay in one geographical location to still attend class. People in coffee shops, airports and even vacation resorts are still able to take courses online. If your job requires that you travel all the time, but you are ready to settle in one place with a pharmacy tech career, you can begin working towards that goal as long as you have a laptop and a Wi-Fi connection.
When it comes to flexibility, make sure that your courses will be structured to your liking. Some schools schedule courses so that they are asynchronous, meaning that you can log into them anytime of the day to retrieve your assignments and lecture materials. Asynchronous courses often will allow a bit of extra leeway when it comes to submitting assignments, too. Rather than having papers due at the beginning of an afternoon class, for instance, they might be due at midnight, allowing you time to get one last revision in after work.
Other schools require that you log in at specific times for moderated chat room discussions or for a live-streamed lecture. If you can schedule these courses, then variety of online course might be a good option for you. If those scheduled events take place while you are at work, you might ask your supervisor for accommodation. If you already work in a pharmacy, or for an institution that houses a pharmacy—such as a hospital—your supervisor may be more amenable to the idea.
How to Find a Reputable Online Certification
The first thing you will want to check is if an online school is fully accredited. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) is the agency you want to see as the accrediting body. That is the veritable gold standard for pharmacy tech courses.
When you look at the overall program, make sure they stress certification and preparation for a certifying exam. You also need to find evidence of an externship and possibly a list of corporate affiliations.
Note that if a program highlights state registration but not licensure or certification, then it is likely that is not the course for you. However, if you like the program, follow up with an email or telephone call to find out more. Not all states regulate pharmacy techs through certifications or licenses, so ask if you will be prepared for either the PTCB or NHA pharmacy tech exams.
Does Certification Prepare for Licensure?
In most states, once you pass a pharmacy tech certification exam from either the PTCB or the NHA, you will be all set for state licensure. Your individual state might not require licensure or may have its own test to fully license pharmacy techs, but your certification is background to handle either situation.
If you are in a state that does not require licensure, it is smart to go ahead and become certified. This will put you ahead of the pack when it comes time to seek a job, and your certificate will serve you well if you are transferred to a state that does require licensure.
Your certificate will serve you well regardless of what you do. When you show the willingness and tenacity to stick through a course of study, an externship and then pass a rigorous exam, any employer will be impressed.
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