As a prospective pharmacy technician student, you may be wondering what the differences in pharmacy tech programs are.
It can be hard to understand the differences in pharmacy tech programs from one program to the next.
The main difference is understanding whether a program provides you with a diploma or a certificate as a pharmacy technician.
Still other schools or programs offer an Associate’s Degree.
For many students, this may be the best option, as an Associate’s Degree may allow you the best potential to work in higher paying fields.
Differences in Pharmacy Tech Programs
Here is an overview of the types of programs and formats you will see when researching for educational opportunities to become a pharmacy technician.
Degree Type – When exploring pharmacy tech programs take the time to understand the different degree types available. A diploma as a pharmacy technician is the lowest level of training, but may help you get an entry level job as a pharmacy technician.
A certificate as a pharmacy technician offers a similar level of training.
For greater advancement opportunities, you may want to pursue programs that offer an Associate’s degree in pharmacy technology training.
Or perhaps a program that will let you transfer your diploma and certification training to an Associate training program at a later date if you choose to advance your training – most likely at the same school.
In Person or On-line Format – You will see schools having pharmacy tech programs that are held both on-line and in person (live) formats. Depending upon where you live in the country, it’s possible that your only option will be for a program that is held via the internet.
If you are lucky to live in an area that has both formats available, determine for yourself if class instruction if effective for you if it is not in person.
Attending classes in a structured classroom with an instructor and other students working with you may be something that you need to be successful.
Class Schedules – Some training programs offer set class schedules while others offer flexible class arrangements.
For example, you may find that a school offers classes that are held monthly, or programs that offer classes that are completed every 5 weeks. Still other programs may have classes that are offered online only, with an externship.
A program with an Associate’s degree may offer classes during the evening, or classes that are offered during the day and evening.
If you already work during the day, it may be helpful to find a program that offers online or evening classes to accommodate your schedule.
Externship Requirements – You will definitely want to find out ahead of time what requirements a program has if any with regard to its externship.
Find a school that works with a reputable retail outlet for its externship program. Also find out how long the externship has to be. Many retail outlets offer externship programs.
The retail outlet works directly with many school administrators for placement opportunities. Find out if your school works directly with retail facilities, and if so which ones to maximize your potential for externship placement.
Career Placement – Along with externship requirements, find out what the graduation rate is for the program you are interested in and what career placement assistance is available at the school you plan to enroll in.
The greater the graduation rate is, and the higher the level of career assistance, the better off you will be in being able to pursue your dreams.
Using the overview listed above, be sure to take your time in choosing the pharmacy tech program that is right for you so that you can be on your way to becoming a pharmacy technician.
Above all, make sure to select a pharmacy tech program that is nationally accredited by the the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).