What to Expect
Pharmacy technology students learn to mix and fill prescriptions as well
as maintain patient records and inventories of drug supplies.
A typical class involves taking notes from a lecture, "but also participating
in discussions and question-and-answer sessions. There were also problem-solving
and demonstration sessions," says Alan Victor Raczka. He graduated from the
pharmacy technology program at Holyoke Community College.
You need to keep on top of your courses. "Many hours each week were
spent studying for exams and quizzes and in preparing research papers and
take-home exams," he says.
You'll also need to complete lab work. "The community pharmacy lab
required considerable advanced preparation. [It] involved compounding every
dosage form, typing, operating different computer systems and learning to
instruct patients about various medical devices," says Raczka.
"The institutional pharmacy lab focused on sterile product preparation
techniques and included preparation of IV products and chemotherapy regimens."
Many students stumbled over math in the pharmacy technology program, but
Raczka had a different problem. "I found the greatest difficulty to be time
management," he says. "There was so much to be done!"
How to Prepare
According to Raczka, high school students should prepare by taking courses
in algebra, logic, chemistry, biology and computer technology. They
should also refine their writing and research skills.
"In a more general sense, students should learn to make education their
top priority and expend much time and effort in their academic pursuits. Students
should also cultivate frustration tolerance," says Raczka.
Courses in computers, chemistry, biology and public speaking can also help
you prepare for a pharmacy technology program.