There always seems to be a debate about whether on or offline schooling is “better”. This doesn’t just apply to the pharmacy tech field, but it’s a discussion that continues even in smaller circles. Let’s settle it once and for all: is on or offline schooling better for pharmacy technology?
We’ll take a closer look at what each has to offer, how they can benefit the students, and which might be right for your individual needs. Ultimately, it comes down to what you need from your training program, and whether or not the school is accredited and can help you meet all of your state’s requirements to become a pharmacy technician.
Online Programs Are More Accessible And Convenient
Online pharmacy technician training is both accessible and convenient for many students, allowing for completely web-based training modules that can be completed pretty much anywhere with an internet connection. This option is great for students who don’t have the time or the will to enroll at a university campus in-person.
The scheduling for online programs is similar to that of in-person classes, and you’ll still have deadlines, challenging coursework, and a professor to answer to. However, there’s something to be said about being able to complete your work from the comfort of home. Many people find it more relaxing to do their coursework from home or some other comfortable environment.
Online Programs Are Generally More Affordable
While pharmacy technician programs generally aren’t expensive when compared to other degree programs, online certifications are usually a bit more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. When you enroll on campus, your tuition goes toward overhead costs, such as utilities, building maintenance, and more. Tuition rates are often higher for physical campuses to account for the extra costs of maintaining and facilities and paying extra faculty members (like maintenance crews and environmental services).
Online programs usually don’t have the extra overhead costs, and can be much more affordable. That’s not to say one is necessarily better than the other; again, it comes down to personal preference.
A pharmacy tech program can cost anywhere from about $2,000 to well over $10,000 depending on the program, the university, and the state you’re studying in. Tuition rates vary too greatly across different areas and schools to pinpoint one price. You’ll have to request more information from whatever school(s) you’re interested in to learn the cost of tuition.
Both on an offline programs should offer pharmacy tech students some level of hands-on training opportunities in the form of an externship. This allows the students to work in a real pharmacy to get a better idea of how it functions, as well as what their role as a pharmacy technician will look like.
When you’re shopping around for pharmacy tech programs, this should be a prime consideration. Without hands-on experience, you may not be able to obtain your certification per your state’s guidelines.
Not to mention, gaining hands-on experience makes you more valuable once you enter the job market. If you’ve already studied in a real pharmacy, that counts as experience, which is something prospective employers will definitely be looking at. Would you feel comfortable walking into a pharmacy with no experience whatsoever on how it operates?
There isn’t much data to compare the graduation rates of on and offline pharmacy technician programs. Each program has its own numbers to refer to, and it’s difficult to say whether or not the fact that the program is online or on-campus actually affects graduation rates.
You can check with the school, however, and ask what the program’s success rate looks like. This can tell you a lot about how efficient the coursework is, how engaging the assignments are, and whether or not you’re signing up for a program with a good reputation.
Ultimately, an online program is going to be a bit more flexible than an on-campus program. Since you’re working from home, you can pretty much set your own hours while still adhering to deadlines.
Which Is Right For Me?
Both on and offline programs can offer a quality education and get you certified. Most pharmacy tech programs will take two years or less to complete, with some programs taking as few as 20 weeks to complete. Online programs often have lower tuition and greater flexibility, but don’t always have access to externships. On-campus programs offer a chance to interact with other students, as well as a much more structured approach to your education.
Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. How much do you want to spend, how much hands-on training do you want, and how flexible do you want your schedule to be? You should always perform adequate research on any programs you’re interested in, and compare them with other schools in your area to find the best option. Good luck!