Special career services. Online or hybrid classes. Student organizations. Pharmacy technician schools can offer students much more than a basic education. Some programs offer so many features, in fact, that it can be difficult for prospective students to sort through them. Which characteristics are nice, and which are essential? Here are a few things to look for when researching pharmacy technician schools.
Accreditation refers to a process in which an independent organization reviews educational programs to certify that they meet certain curricular, instructional and quality standards. Certification boards, employers and other schools’ admissions departments often consider accreditation status when reviewing applicants’ educational credentials. Pharmacy technician schools are accredited by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists, which publishes its standards and model curriculum on its website. Only programs that offer a minimum of 15 weeks and 600 hours of targeted instruction are even eligible for ASHP review. There are more than 200 fully-accredited community college, vocational and employer-based pharmacy technician schools in the United States. Future students can visit the ASHP’s online Technician Training Directory to review them.
Certification-Geared Coursework & Preparation
Pharmacy technician certification signals that candidates have met certain training and skill benchmarks. The BLS reports that most states and employers prefer, or even require, technicians to be certified by the PTCB or the NHA. Each organization sets its own certification criteria and publishes it online. The NHA’s educational requirements are more advanced than those of the PTCB, but both groups require techs to pass exams that test candidates’ knowledge of areas like pharmacy law, medication safety and quality assurance. Pharmacy technician schools with certificate-geared courses and test preparation services better prepare graduates for what could be an otherwise intimidating exam process.
Relaying knowledge in a classroom is one thing; demonstrating it in a clinical setting is quite another. Pharmacy technician schools that offer plenty of hands-on training through labs and externships give students the practical experience they need to not only hit the ground running, but also avoid costly mistakes. PTCB and NHA certification exams both test techs’ clinical savvy, and the ASHP considers practical learning opportunities in the course of accreditation. Prospective students should look for programs offering these valuable experiences.