You’ve decided you want to make a big change in your life and go to school to be a pharmacy technician! That’s great. Now comes the most important choice you will make – picking the school you want to attend.
There are so many things to consider when you decide you want to continue your education. Cost, location, job placement rate are all important things to research before you commit. Not every school is going to be the right fit for every student, but there are important attributes your school needs to have in order for it to be a good fit.
The number one thing you should consider is how long it’s going to take you to finish school. This is so important because it really drives every other decision. You can’t base anything on cost if you don’t know how long you will need to be making tuition payments.
Pharm schools like UMA offer a degree in 18 months. This is plenty of time to complete all of the required courses and clinical time. However, this will depend of course on you and your schedule.
While it is preferred that students attend full-time and finish in 18 months, it is not always feasible, especially for those that have to also work full time. Going to school part time will definitely increase the length of time you will be in school, but that should not be a part of the completion time consideration. When looking at completion time, you should be evaluating as if you were a full-time student, regardless of if that is your plan.
Another consideration when deciding which pharmacy technician school is right for you to attend is location. Along with location, you must consider what kind of learner you are.
Are you more of a hands-on learner where you have to be sitting in a class listening to a teacher? If that is the case, you want to find a school that is closer to home so it is easy for you to commute to class.
If you learn better by reading and a more relaxed environment, distance learning, or learning over the computer, may be the best option for you. This is also the best option if you have a tight schedule and need more flexible times to complete your school. Most schools offer a distance learning option. Depending on the school, distance learning can also be a cheaper option, as there is no actual in-class time included.
Externships are often a part of the degree requirements for pharmacy technician programs. These externships let you work with a licensed pharmacist and other pharmacy technicians to experience what your day-to-day job will be like. Students who have this experience are much more likely to get a job and settle into the field quicker.
This can also be your foot in the door to your first job. Depending on your externship performance and the needs of the employer, most employers are more likely to hire applicants that have worked with them in the past. Some may even offer you a job before you finish, pending completion of the program of course!
The final consideration should be cost. You want a school that serves you in all areas of importance, therefore, cost should not be your number one determining factor. However, cost is always a factor when it comes to making any big decisions, especially career changes.
Most online programs are cheaper than in-school programs, but cost should not be your driving factor on how you should learn. There are many options for financial aid out there that can help you get through school. Grants and scholarships are free money that is given to you based on merit or need and does not need to be paid back after graduation. Loans are borrowed money that will need paid back over a determined time period with interest. Your financial aid package is dependent on need and everyone’s will look a little different
Never let finances get in the way of fulfilling your dreams. Your school of choice will walk you through all the necessary steps to getting the funding you need to make your pharmacy technician dream a reality.
If you are serious about going to school to become a pharmacy technician, the first step is finding the right school for you. Using the above criteria, evaluate the schools you are considering and determine which one best suits your needs.
Committing to school is the first step. Before you know it, you’ll be on your own as a certified pharmacy technician, filling prescriptions and helping the public with their pharmacy-related questions. Your dream is closer than you think, you just have to get started.