Finding a college in which to study to pursue your dream in becoming a pharmacy technician is always tricky as there are so many factors that need to be considered. For example, which state do you live in and are how far are you willing to relocate for a college or university? One must also consider the tuition fees and textbook costs, travel expenses and housing budgets if your place of study is far from home. Choosing the US Career Institute pharmacy technician course will prove to be extremely advantageous if you are the type of person who can study online and motivate yourself through self-discipline.
Some Information On The US Career Institute
US Career Institute (USCI) is a distance learning college; this means that you will not physically attend classes, thereby giving you the freedom to study and work from home, in your own time. This method requires dedication and self-discipline, thereby advocating flexibility and taking charge of your own schedule.
USCI was first established in California in 1981 under a different name; the current name was implemented in 2005. The headquarters were moved to Colorado in the 1990s due to its more centralized location. Soon after Ann Rohr’s appointment of president of the college in 2003, USCI became nationally accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), and they now offer 22 other career certificates in addition to the pharmacy technician certificate.
According to their website (www.uscareerinstitute.edu), this is their mission:
“U.S. Career Institute’s mission is to offer affordable, quality distance education options” to their students. U.S. Career Institute’s administration, faculty and staff are committed to offering career training of the highest quality and best value. We focus on the needs and satisfaction of the students by providing exceptional service from the instructors, counselors and staff.”
US Career Institute Pharmacy Technician Coursework
It is very important to read up about the precise course you will be taking so that you can familiarize yourself with the topics and be absolutely sure that this is the course for you. In a nutshell, this program will train you in written and oral medical and pharmaceutical terminology, basic human anatomy and physiology, and mathematical functions and calculating dosages using three different systems. The skills will be acquired throughout this learning program will see to it that upon graduation, you are ready to work in one of the many pharmacy technician industries, including drug stores, hospitals, nursing homes, retail pharmacies mail order pharmacies, and assisted-living facilities.
Instruction Pack I: A Solid Foundation
This part of the course deals with the role of the pharmacy technician in the medical field, as well as the difference in scopes of practice between the pharmacy technician and pharmacist. You will also start to develop and expand your medical vocabulary as you learn to interpret the terminology used in a pharmacy. You will also learn some information on pharmacy operations, mainly the control of drug inventory and dispensation.
Instruction Pack II: Drug Basics and Documentation
In this section, you will learn how to understand the various types of drug dosage forms, and how drugs react in the body, as well as with other drugs; this also includes preventing errors and how to deal with a bad reaction or allergy.
One must not forget about the important role that computers play in this industry, and this is introduced in this section as you will be taught how to deal with financial transactions and the fiscal management of a pharmacy.
Instruction Pack III Drug Agents, Part I
This is where the mathematics aspect comes in, as you will start off this pack with a refresher course in basic math. You will also be introduced to pharmaceutical measurement systems; there are three of these:
- The Metric system: This is a decimal system, and the most frequently used method in pharmacy as it is the easiest.
- The Apothecary system: Although this is not as widely used as the aforementioned system, it is still used. Basically, this system is one of volume units based on the fluid ounce (one pound = 12 ounces, one ounce = 8 drachms, one drachm = 3 scruples or 60 grains).
- Usually, in this system, quantities are written out with Roman numerals, so you will need to know that I is one, V is five, X is 10, C is 100 and so on.
The Household System: This is mainly used so that patients can measure out their dosages at home using everyday household equipment such as a teaspoon or a cup.
Also covered in this section are the types of drug agents used to combat certain diseases, the laws and regulations of a pharmacy practice, and the professional code of ethics.
Instruction Pack IV: Drug Agents, Part II
Pack four will train you on the further use of drug agents, namely cardiovascular and pulmonary agents, drugs for the digestive system, muscle relaxants, analgesics, and immunological agents. You will also learn about nutrition and the role that vitamins play in drug therapy.
Instruction Pack V: Dosages and Compounding
Your final pack will start with the hormones of the endocrine and reproductive systems. This is followed by another math lesson specializing in determining the ratios, proportions, and equivalencies used to calculate drug dosages. Other aspects which will be covered include the techniques used to compound drugs, and parenterals and intravenous admixtures.
The full fee for the course is $903.50, which is broken down into $887.00 for the tuition, and $16.50 for the shipping fees.
There are no hidden fees, as this includes the cost for:
- Supplements (You will receive some very helpful bonus material with all your packs.)
- Unlimited instructor assistance
- Unlimited career support for graduates
There are three methods of payment for this course, depending on your current financial situation, each with their own benefits:
- Pay in Full: Total payment of $687. ($200 discount on tuition; no shipping cost)
- Automatic Payment Plan: Total payment of $803.50 paid in installments of $5 for your first payment, then $49 per month thereafter. ($100 discount)
- Standard Payments: Total payment of $903.50 paid in installments of $5 for your first payment, then $49 per month thereafter. (No discount)
How To Apply
In order to apply for the US Career Institute pharmacy technician course you must:
- Certify that you are a high school graduate, hold a state-approved Graduate Equivalency Diploma or its equivalent, or have completed college-level course work; or otherwise demonstrate ability to perform postsecondary-level course work (including test evidence).
- Submit a completed enrollment application with the required payment.
- You can enroll online via their website (http://www.uscareerinstitute.edu), or, if you have further questions you can call their toll free number 886-250-6851.
Once you have enrolled, all your textbooks and bonus material will be sent to you with five to seven business days, and then you can start your studies immediately. USCI will also give you a seven day window period in which you can cancel your enrollment and get a full refund for your first payment should you decide that this is not really for you.
You Are Not Completely Alone
Just because you do not physically attend class does not mean that totally alone in this endeavor; you can call the school for instructional assistance between 8:00 and 17:00 on weekdays except Fridays which are between 8:00 and 15:00. Not having lecturers or professors around you may prove to be challenging at times, but do make use of this phone-in service so that you can have all your questions answered.
The Success Promisesm
The average income of a pharmacy technician is $35 000 per year, and surely you will want to start earning that as soon as you graduate from this course. If you are a hard worker, you may be eligible for the Success Promisesm program which will ensure that you either get a job within six months, or have all your money reimbursed.
In order to qualify you must complete these three steps:
- Finish your Certificate Program within 12 months of your enrollment date with at least an 85% GPA.
- Pay at least 50% of your tuition and be current in your payments as you begin the Success Promisesm program.
- Complete all weekly activities in your Success Promisesm program and remain current in your payments. Get a copy of the Success Promisesm program Outline; this can be found on the USCI website.
- This is a fantastic initiative which shows how serious this college is in helping its students to graduate and find a job.
If being a pharmacy technician is your dream, then you should give the US Career Institute pharmacy technician course some serious consideration. The distance learning method allows you to get through this at a rapid rate if you are eager to get out in the real world and start earning; it also results in a reasonable tuition fee and you will save on travel and housing expenses since you can do this from home. It will also teach you valuable skills not only in your chosen profession, but also in the writing of your resumes, and learning to motivate yourself.