Pharmacy Technician Schools in Alaska
Pharmacy technology is a career area with a short training period, but good earning potential. Alaska’s pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of licensed pharmacists to perform duties vital to patient health. These duties may include entering data, counting out pills, compounding IVs, and interacting with patients. Many of these responsibilities are shared by pharmacy technicians across the nation. Alaska’s geographical location, though, presents some unique opportunities and challenges. A recent posting for a pharmacy technician at Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation, for instance, cites among the job duties that one “act as a liaison between” village clinics and pharmacy.
Alaska is very clear about what duties a technician may perform and what responsibilities are reserved for the more highly trained pharmacists that they work under. A pharmacy technician can’t, for instance, receive a phone or other oral prescription that includes any changes to the original order. (Presumably a trained pharmacist would be more likely to recognize and ask for clarification if anything sounded unusual.)
Pharmacists are also the ones who make final checks on prescriptions to make sure they are accurate and safe. This doesn’t diminish the importance of the technician, however. It is often the pharmacy technician who first greets customers and puts them at ease while they wait for their prescription to be filled.
Pharmacy Technician Licensure and Certification in Alaska
In Alaska, pharmacy technicians are licensed by the Alaska Board of Pharmacy, located in Juneau. Among the licensure requirements: pharmacy technicians must be fluent in English, have a diploma or GED, and a record free of felony or serious crime. Training may occur on the job, however, most employers prefer to hire pharmacy technicians with formal training.
Certification by PTCB is not mandated. Some employees, though, require PCTB certification within a specified time after hiring. The University of Alaska Anchorage notes that others may require it as a condition for initial hire. Definitely research the employers you may like to work for and do what you need to do to make yourself as competitive as possible for these positions by matching your skills and credentials to the employer's wants or needs.
Students in rural areas of Alaska will be glad to know that both national and state institutions offer distance learning opportunities. From these programs, students can learn skills important for entry level positions.
Continuing education once you become a pharmacy technician should be approved by one of several agencies which include the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, the Alaska Pharmacists Association, and the Pharmacy Technician Board.
Pharmacy Technician Salary and Job Outlook in Alaska
Pharmacy technology is a growing field, and Alaska has the highest pharmacy technician salary in the nation according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Average wages are $37,090 per year or $17.83 per hour. (It is important to consider both as some positions are per diem. The Native Health Alliance, for instance, is an employer who has recently sought an intermittent employee.)
Pharmacy technician careers are not only lucrative; they can also provide long term job stability. The Bureau of Labor projects a very favorable job outlook across the nation. For some students, this makes it easier to pay for initial training. Pharmacy students, like those in other disciplines, may apply for scholarships to offset cost. The University of Alaska, for instance, has a Pharmacy Technician Scholarship with a November 1 deadline. The Francis C Bowden scholarship meanwhile is open to any Alaska resident in an accredited pharmacy technology program.
Prospective pharmacy technologists in Alaska -- like those elsewhere -- will want to consider how particular programs can help them with their career plans. A representative of the University of Alaska Northeast notes that the program does not include an internship, but that it leaves students very well prepared for passing the ICTB. Their program consist entirely of distance learning, and it is easy to see how such a program could be ideal for a student in a very rural area. Other schools, including online programs, find externships for their students, and such positions sometimes lead to paid employment down the line.
Among the facilities where Alaska pharmacy technicians can hope to eventually secure employment are Geneva Woods Health Care Services and Cardinal Health Nuclear Pharmacy Services.