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Information from the Department Chair for Pharmacy Technician Program

Email Address:
Twitter:  @drjacademia

Feel free to reach out to me in either format with your questions or concerns.

Welcome to the Pharmacy Technician program!  Upon completion of this program, you will achieve a certificate degree that provides you with the understanding of pharmacy practice theory and the ability to perform pharmacy tasks including receiving, interpreting, entering, and filling prescriptions.  You will learn how to use various software programs to manage and process medications while gaining knowledge of medical terminology, medical law and ethics, patient confidentiality, and customer service. 

Graduates of this program will be able to work in a hospital pharmacy or chain pharmacy store. 

The Pharmacy Technician program is classified as certificate degrees.  There are different degrees available at Rasmussen University depending on the program you are enrolled in.  The type of degrees offered are certificate, diploma, associate’s, and bachelor’s degrees, each of which requires a different total degree credits needed to achieve that particular degree.  The Pharmacy Technician program require 38 credits to graduate with a certificate, which prepares you to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam.

The Pharmacy Technician (PT) program is fully online, meaning that all of a student's coursework is completed via online courses.  The PT program can be completed in just 3 quarters with each quarter being 11 weeks long, meaning a student could complete this program in about 9 months (between each quarter there is a 2-week break).  Instead of each course being 11 weeks long (the length of a quarter), the courses within this program are 5.5 weeks long, or half a quarter.  It is a bit strange to students at first, especially the half-week aspect, but research demonstrates higher student success in this model.

So how does it work?  Let’s say a student is enrolled in 2 courses for the first quarter.  You will notice that each quarter is divided into term 1 (T1) and term 2 (T2), where T1 is the first 5.5 weeks of the quarter, and T2 is the last 5.5 weeks of the quarter.  In this example, in the first 5.5 weeks of the quarter (T1), the student will take 1 course, and then in the last 5.5 weeks of the quarter, called T2, the student will take the second course.  Check out the tab 5.5 Course Model to get more details on this concept and how the courses are designed within this 5.5- week model.

Each quarter is 11 weeks long and are divided into term 1 (T1) and term 2 (T2).  T1 refers to the first 5.5 weeks of the course, and T2 refers to the last 5.5 weeks of the quarter (for a total of 11 weeks).  In one 11-week quarter of courses, a student can take a course during T1 and a course during T2 for a total of 2 courses taken in that quarter.  

Watch this video to see how T1 and T2 setup works within a calendar quarter.

So how do you prepare yourself?  Time management is going to be your key to success.  Make sure you check out the Time Management tab to make sure you are set on your time management skills before the quarter starts and are ready to tackle these 5.5-week courses.  Also, understanding how to make tutor appointments is great to know as well.  You can even meet with a tutor for time management tips.

Time management is an important life skill and is essential for you to be successful in your courses and program.  Take the time prior to classes starting to put together a time management calendar.  This is where you map out and assign/budget your time during each week for academics, work, family, and personal time.  Creating this calendar will provide you with the pathway to success and allow you to balance college with other aspects of your life.  Rasmussen University has two excellent resources to help you learn how to manage your time efficiently: 

1) Within the Student Success Guide, there is a section entitled Managing Your Time--Getting It All Done with tips and downloads to help you organize your time, including time management calendars to help budget your time.  Here is a quick link: (scroll down to the bottom box and click on Handouts).  Please also visit our Time Management Tips from Students box in the Study Skills section of the Health Sciences Guide.

2) You can make an appointment with a tutor that is trained in time management skills, and they can work with you to help you create a time management calendar.  It's a great idea to schedule even before the term starts to ensure you have a plan that starts you on the right track.  

Use this link to learn how to make an appointment with a tutor (you need to be able to log into the student portal):   Appointments for time management help can be found under Success Skills.  Remember, you can make an appointment with a tutor for coursework assistance as well.  See the Tutor Appointments tab for more information.

Asking for help seems simple enough to do, but yet so many students fail to do it, many being scared to ask or some waiting too long.  Be proactive--ask for help as soon as you need it!  Every single employee at Rasmussen University is committed and dedicated to your success and is here to help.  Sometimes we can’t tell if you need help or have a question, so you have to be proactive about asking questions.  You can call or email your instructor, your student advisor, your program manager, or your department chair with questions and/or concerns.  The sooner the better--don’t let your questions or concerns fester and become bigger problems.

Another person you can ask for help with is a tutor.  You can schedule an appointment with a tutor for help over the phone, online, or even in person (where it is offered).  You can get help with specific courses (such as Medical Terminology or Structure and Function), with writing a paper in APA formatting, with managing your time more efficiently, or even with improving your study skills.  The college has tutors that are trained in your specific need of help.  Click here for more information on our Health Sciences tutors or here for step-by-step instructions on scheduling a tutoring appointment.  

1.  Create a time management calendar

2.  Understand the instructions and put your best effort into your assignments

3.  Submit your work on time

4.  Review the content

5.  Ask questions and ask for help

You should start week 1 ready to go!  Be ready to ask questions, be ready to ask for help, have your time management calendar prepared so you have blocked times to do your readings, assignments, and enough time to study and review the content.  These expectations seem simple but can get challenging when juggling them against other life priorities.  Remember, though, if you stick to these expectations, you will be successful!

Students will most likely have Medical Terminology and Structure & Function in their first quarter.  Both of these courses contain a technology aspect where students will have to do voice and/or video recordings to submit as a part of their assignments.  This can be intimidating at first, but it’s actually quite simple.  When students are required to use various technology within their courses, there's always detailed instruction, and if students have questions or concerns about any technology issues, there are numerous resources to help, including your instructor, student advisors, tutors, the Health Sciences Guide, and the Personal Support Center, available free of charge 24/7 at 1-866-693-2211.          

The ability to use technology is a valuable skill you can transfer to many situations.  We call this digital fluency.  No matter what professional field a student is pursing or even employed in, having the confidence and ability to use technology (including learning new technology/software) is a vital component to being a valued and successful employee.  As students continue through their programmatic courses, they will gain this confidence, knowledge, and ability to become digitally fluent.

Most Medical Administrative Assistant students will take Medical Terminology (Med Term) and Structure & Function of the Human Body (S/F) in their first quarter.  Commonly students will take Med Term in T1 and S/F in T2 of the first quarter; these courses are only offered in a 5.5-week version, as discussed in another tab.  Students who are not prepared with understanding how the 5.5-week version courses work and do not have a time management calendar prepared may struggle in these courses. 

These two courses are the foundation to all medical field professions.  Medical Terminology is like learning a new language, and Structure & Function covers the organ systems of the body.  Both courses are very content rich, so it's best to be prepared.  Make sure you look through the information with the tabs titled Time Management, 5.5 Course Model, and Tutor Appointments, and ask questions as they arise. 

Lastly, there are great resources specifically for these two courses in the Health Sciences Guide.  On the left hand side of this guide under the Core Courses section, yu will see information and resources for both courses.