What to look for in a pharmacy technology program

What should you consider when choosing a pharmacy technician program?Have you ever considered becoming a pharmacy technician (pharm tech)? It’s a great career for people who have strong customer-service skills and are detail-oriented. After all, pharmacy technicians are responsible for filling prescriptions, which must be done correctly. If working behind the counter at a pharmacy intrigues you and you have always wanted to be involved in the health care industry, becoming a pharmacy technician may be right for you! The next step is choosing a program that will get you there.

Is the college or program accredited?

Not just anyone can become a pharmacy technician! Dispensing medications, under the supervision of a pharmacist, in the proper dosages is a huge responsibility, so potential employers want to make sure that their pharmacy techs have degrees from accredited institutions. Attending a pharmacy tech program at an accredited college shows pharmacists and hiring managers that you have received a quality education that will prepare you to be successful in your career. So before signing up for a pharmacy technician program, make sure the college or program is accredited!

Does it have a strong curriculum?

Of course, what you will learn in a pharm tech program should also have a bearing on the college you choose to attend. Being a pharmacy technician requires a specialized set of skills, and it’s important that the school you attend will equip you for success. Earning a degree or certificate through a program that combines classroom time with hands-on training is always a good idea because it will allow you to test out your skills before you enter the workforce.1

What is the cost of tuition?

You don’t want to dig yourself into a mountain of debt before you’ve even found a job! While most colleges have financial aid support available in the form of student loans, grants and scholarships, cost should be a factor in deciding which school to attend. Fortunately, pharmacy technician degrees can generally be earned in just a year or two, so chances are you will be out of school and in the working world much more quickly than your peers at four-year institutions. Plus, your tuition will likely cost less. Determine how much you can afford, and factor that into your decision.2

How long does the program take?

If you’re eager to start working not long after graduating from high school, becoming a pharmacy technician is a fantastic career option. As we mentioned, pharm tech programs are often completed in less than four years, and may even take as little as one to two years to complete! This way, you can quickly become a part of the growing health care field.3

1 Pharmacy Technician Information Center, ‘About Pharmacy Technicians,’ 2013 – http://pharmtechinfocenter.com/about/basics.html
2 ACT Inc., ‘Identify Important Factors in Choosing a College,’ 2013 – www.actstudent.org/college/factors.html
3Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘Pharmacy Technicians,’ March 29, 2012 – www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm#tab-4

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