Skip to main content
Carrington College Blog

Finding the right pharmacy externship

January 19, 2015

Finding the right pharmacy internshipRegardless of what medical or professional field you intend to enter, it’s crucial that you gain hands on experience outside of the classroom. Not only will this serve as a valuable addition to your studies, but it could very well be a prime distinction when it comes time to leave school and hit the job market.

If you’re working toward becoming a certified pharmacy tech but aren’t quite sure what your strategy will be when you begin your search for employment, you may want to speak with your academic advisors about externship programs. Though these experiences can be extremely worthwhile resume builders, it can be too easy to take one on that doesn’t entirely fit your professional and educational goals.

When seeking a new externship, you’ll want to carefully consider exactly how it will bolster your chances of employment down the line through work experience and future networking opportunities.  If you’re currently looking for a pharmacy externship, consider these factors during your search to ensure that you land the right position.  If you are a Carrington College student, work with your career services advisor to determine the right externship for you.

Start early

As Business Week notes, most of the stronger companies in any field will begin recruiting to fill externships early in the academic year.1 Whether you have a specific pharmacy in mind or are simply hoping to find a reputable one at which to practice your trade as a technician, you should be making a point of getting in contact with institutions as early as possible. Make a note on your calendar to begin looking for externships several months before the academic term comes to a close, and you’ll find that you’re far better positioned to land a great one when the time comes.

Even if you aren’t sure when to apply, get in touch with someone at your desired pharmacy or clinic. They’ll appreciate your forward nature and you’ll have an established point of contact. To begin this process, you’ll want to put together a resume, samples of your best academic work and an established timeline and calendar for your application process. You’ll find that all three of these are extraordinarily helpful when it comes time to begin seeking new opportunities.

Consider size, bigger isn’t always better

When we think of gaining resume building experience, it’s natural to be of the impression that bigger is going to be better. There is some degree of truth to this, as working at larger companies or pharmacies can provide you with resources that some smaller ones might not be able to. Chief among these is name brand recognition. Working as a pharmacy technician for Walgreens or CVS is certainly something that future potential employers will recognize on your resume. Nonetheless, it’s important to understand that smaller institutions can offer a great deal of benefit as well.

The Career Center at the University of Michigan has reported that internships at smaller workplaces can afford interns the opportunity to become more involved in the actual day-to-day processes of the business, as opposed to simply completing mundane tasks.2 While a large company may be a good fit for you, try rounding out your application process with a few small pharmacies. You may find that the individual attention you’ll receive garners more valuable work experience than name brand recognition ever could.

Be organized

Organization is particularly beneficial for people interviewing in highly competitive fields, such as the pharmaceuticals industry. By creating spreadsheets and documents that track all the stages of your application process for each position, you’ll be guaranteed never to miss a step. Further, when it comes time to interview you’ll be able to speak more intelligently about the other jobs that you are considering, a skill that will make you far more desirable in the eyes of potential extern employers.

Start simple, make a spreadsheet with all of the due dates for applications and additional materials and expand on it as you get further in the process.

1) Kolmodin, Nathan, ‘Finding the Right Internship,’ Business Week, 6/25/2008

2) Trucco, Katie, ‘Intern Insights: “Start Small” and Other Advice on Finding the Right Internship,’ University of Michigan Career Center, 2015,



More stories about