Deciding Between Online And On Campus Education

Deciding on a school to pursue a Pharmacy Technician program is never easy with so many choices available. If all the choices boggle your mind, the option of online and on-campus education further makes your decision even more daunting. To help you decide where to enroll, let us first understand some of the key differences between online and on-campus learning.


Online: Online Pharmacy Technician diploma or degree program has the convenience of flexibility of schedules as virtual classes can be worked around your schedule. However classes sometimes require students to attend scheduled meetings in chat rooms. This flexibility works out better for pharmacy technicians who are already working or students with family responsibilities who want to pursue a career despite time constraints.

On-campus: Students require to attend four to six hours of classes from Monday to Friday. Depending on the school, the classes are usually scheduled between 6am to 5pm. This kind of schedule can be cumbersome for a working pharmacy technician; however, will work out better for graduates just out of high school as sticking to a fixed routine will keep them more focused.

Being a successful student

Online: To be a successful student with an online program, you have to be self-motivated and disciplined. The flexibility which an online program offers can make it difficult to set a routine for yourself and stick to it.

On-Campus: You will be attending campus classes and having a fixed schedule around it. It is considerably easy to keep up with deadlines with your schedule fixed, especially if you are someone who can get easily distracted and needs constant motivation.


Online: Online education costs less in terms of tuition fees and cuts down on transportation costs as you do not need to commute to go to college. You can also continue earning while pursuing your career as a pharmacy technician due to the convenience of online study, therefore making it a cost-effective option.

On-Campus: On-campus programs have higher tuition fees due to the additional overhead costs borne by the college as maintaining a well - equipped brick-mortar structure, which includes classrooms, libraries, labs, etc. costs a lot of money. The extra buck eventually passes on to the student, thereby increasing the cost of education.

So, where to get started

Deciding on which school whether, online or on campus will depend on factors such as accreditations, the modules they offer, cost of the program, financial assistance, externships and placement services. Each differs in terms of curriculum and coursework. It is therefore recommended to do a thorough research as to what each program has to offer to gain the maximum out of it. Here we take an example of an online as well as an on- campus program to help you understand and choose better.


Example of Penn Foster Career School's Online Diploma Program.

Pre-requisite for the program:

A high school degree or GED. Besides you will need high speed internet to begin with the program. You will need access to a Microsoft Windows based computer running Windows XP or later or an Apple Mac computer running OS X or later, and an email account to complete your program with Penn Foster.

Credit Transfer restrictions:

Credit transfer is decided upon, on a case by case basis as high school programs vary. Only an evaluation by Penn Foster will determine the actual number of transfer credits to be awarded. The maximum number of transfer credits allowed is 16.

What to expect out of the program:

The program curriculum comprises of 10 modules. Students are given a full module on mathematics that includes metric calculations, percentages preparations, and basic arithmetic for the preparation and dispensing of drugs. The curriculum covers all aspects of pharmacy operations, anatomy and medical terminology, and various disease states with the drugs commonly used to treat them. In addition, the course provides instruction in prescription dispensing, including liquid, solid, and topical medicines. Successful graduates are eligible to sit for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).

Tuition Fees and Refund Policy:

The school offers three payment options, namely full one-time payment at $634, monthly auto pay as low as $45 a month totaling to $674 and monthly mail payments as low as $45 a month equating to $759. It offers a generous refund policy of 100% refund within the first 5 days of enrollment and after 5 days the amount refunded will depend on the enrollment date, lessons completed and tuition date.

Externship Partners:

The school offers a hands-on learning experience through their partnership with CVS pharmacy and Walgreens Pharmacy.

What will you receive when you graduate:

You will receive a Pharmacy Technician Workbook which is officially endorsed by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). It is a valuable tool, where key concepts and terms are explained. Besides you can receive a voucher of $29 for the PTCB practice exam, as well as full $129 sponsorship for the PTCB certification exam.


Example of American Career College Pharmacy Technician Diploma Program.

Pre-requisite for the program:

Applicants require providing high school diploma or copy of GED and must have completed 18 years of age. You need to pass a standard entrance test before you can enroll for the program. The college does not accept admission applications from prospective students with felony convictions. Students are required to meet computer requirements in terms of internet access, Windows XP, Macintosh OS.

Credit Transfer Restrictions:

Credit transfer will be solely at the discretion of the college as high school programs vary from school to school.

What to expect out of the program:

The curriculum is divided into modules of Pharmacy Law, Drug fundamentals, Pharmacology, Drug Distribution, IV Preparation, Retail Pharmacy and Pharmacy Technician Externship. The externship will be under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist to re-inforce the knowledge and skills gained throughout the 36 weeks of the program. The programs are typically offered in 4-hour to 6-hour sessions between 6am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Tuition Fees and Refund policy:

The cost of the diploma program at the American Career College in Los Angeles is $11,495 (source American Society of Hospital Pharmacists). The program cost does not include transportation costs and an additional of $1,100 will be charged to students who wish to purchase the computer from the college. A full refund, apart from the nonrefundable application fee can be availed within 7 days of enrollment.

The Bottom-line

We have gone through the pros and cons of online as well as campus education. Further we have referred to two colleges to know better as to what goes into each program. What we see is a stark difference in the cost of education, where an online diploma costs $675, while an on-campus costs $11,495, with the course modules as well as the duration of the program almost remaining similar. Online degrees are gaining respect, unlike a decade ago and employers too are embracing online graduates in record numbers. The learning outcome remains the same, as both programs provide hands-on learning through externships. For a person who is self-motivated, highly initiative and not prone to distraction, online training, with the advantage of flexibility of schedules, convenience of eBooks, low tuition fees, along with quality education, works out just right. But before you decide to enroll yourself into an online program ensure the school is one of the best and is accredited by the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists (ASHP) because in the end it is the name of the college and the program you have earned that will matter to the employer, rather than the method by which you have earned it.

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