Choosing a Pharmacy Technician School
Here are some important factors to consider when choosing a pharmacy technician school:
It is important to choose a school that has both institutional and programmatic accreditation. Accreditation ensures that the school meets minimum standards of quality and that the curriculum is up-to-date and relevant. It also ensures that the school has the necessary resources to provide students with a quality education.
When researching schools, be sure to check the accreditation status of the program. The two main accrediting organizations for pharmacy technician programs are the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).
It is important to research the program’s curriculum to ensure that it will provide the necessary knowledge and skills for a successful career as a pharmacy technician. This can include reviewing course descriptions, syllabi, and program outcomes. It may also be helpful to speak with current or former students, as well as industry professionals, to gain insight into the quality of the curriculum and its relevance to the field.
Clinical experience provides students with the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they have learned in the classroom to real-life situations. It allows them to interact with patients, healthcare providers, and other pharmacy staff members in a professional setting.
When researching pharmacy technician programs, it is important to look for programs that offer clinical experience as part of the curriculum. This can include internships, externships, or practicums in a variety of healthcare settings, such as hospitals, retail pharmacies, compounding pharmacies, and long-term care facilities. Some programs may even offer opportunities for students to participate in research projects or volunteer in community health clinics.
When considering a pharmacy technician school, it is important to also look at their certification exam preparation offerings. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) are two of the most recognized certification organizations for pharmacy technicians, so it is important to choose a school that will adequately prepare you for their certification exams.
A good pharmacy technician program should include exam prep materials such as practice exams, study guides, and review sessions to help you prepare for the certification exam. The program should also cover all the necessary topics that will be tested on the certification exam, including pharmacology, pharmacy law and ethics, medication safety, and calculations.
It is also important to choose a program that has a high pass rate for the certification exam. This can be a good indication of the quality of the program and its ability to prepare students for the exam. You can ask the school for their pass rates or look them up online to get an idea of how successful their graduates are in passing the certification exam.
Research the faculty and staff members of the pharmacy technician program to ensure that they have the necessary qualifications and experience to effectively teach and train students. Look for programs that have instructors with a strong background in pharmacy, pharmacology, and related fields.
Additionally, it is important to consider the student-to-faculty ratio. Programs with smaller class sizes and a lower student-to-faculty ratio can provide more individualized attention and support to students.
Technology and Resources
- Lab facilities: Does the school have modern, well-equipped labs for hands-on training in pharmacy procedures and compounding techniques?
- Computer resources: Are there sufficient computer labs and resources for students to complete coursework and prepare for the certification exam?
- Online resources: Does the program offer online access to coursework, training materials, and practice exams to help students study and prepare for the certification exam?
- Library resources: Does the school have an extensive library with up-to-date pharmacy resources, such as textbooks, journals, and online databases?
- Simulation software: Does the program use simulation software to help students learn and practice pharmacy procedures and compounding techniques in a virtual environment?
- Drug reference software: Does the school provide access to drug reference software to help students learn about medications, interactions, and potential side effects?
- Practice management software: Does the program provide training on practice management software used in pharmacy settings to help students develop skills in inventory management, billing, and record keeping?
- Industry partnerships: Does the program have partnerships with local pharmacies, hospitals, or other healthcare facilities that offer students opportunities for hands-on training and clinical experience?
Flexibility and Schedule
When choosing a pharmacy technician school, it is important to consider the location and schedule of the program. Factors to consider include:
- Location: Is the school located close to where you live or work? Is it easily accessible by public transportation or by car? If you have to commute a long distance to attend classes, it can be difficult to stay motivated and engaged in your studies.
- Class Schedule: Does the program offer classes at times that work for your schedule? Are classes offered during the day or evening, or on weekends? Are there options for online or hybrid learning? Consider your work and family obligations and choose a program that can accommodate your needs.
- Flexibility: Does the program offer any flexibility in terms of the length of the program or the ability to take classes at your own pace? If you have other commitments that require your time and attention, you may need a program that is more flexible in order to be successful.
- Availability of Clinical Training: Does the program offer opportunities for hands-on clinical training? This is important as it allows you to gain practical experience in a real-world setting and apply what you have learned in the classroom to real patient scenarios.
Look for a program that fits your budget and offers financial aid options, such as scholarships, grants, and loans.
Reputation and Job Placement
Look for reviews and feedback from current and former students, as well as from employers who have hired graduates from the program. This will give you an idea of how well the school is regarded and whether its graduates are well-prepared for the workforce.
Additionally, some schools may have partnerships or connections with local pharmacies or healthcare organizations, which can be beneficial for job placement after graduation. Consider researching the school’s partnerships and networking opportunities in the industry.
It’s also important to check the school’s career services resources, including job placement assistance and career counseling. These resources can be helpful in finding employment opportunities and preparing for job interviews.
Find A Pharmacy Technician School Near You
See which schools in your state offer pharmacy technician programs.