My Career Step: Kristin Choate

Kristin Choate

Kristin's Goals

  • Find a career with lots of opportunities and job security
  • Work in a hands-on field with the opportunity for patient interaction
  • Train online with the ability to move at her own pace

Benefits of her Career Step Education

  • Flexible training let her study whenever it was convenient
  • She had the skills to earn her national certification right away
  • Thorough training helped her secure a job 2 weeks after graduating

My Back-up Plan

I started considering a career as a pharmacy technician because the career path I had previously chosen did not pan out well. There were not many jobs in my field, and the economy made it worse. I thought that I could go to school and train as a pharmacy technician as a back-up plan. Being a pharmacy technician appealed to me because of the hands-on nature of working with, making, and filling prescriptions. It also seemed like it would be a very rewarding career with its direct connection to patient satisfaction and care. I did a lot of research and found that there was a growing need for pharmacy technicians and that there seemed to be job security for the future. My area also had listing for a number of pharmacy technician positions, so I thought it might be easier to find a job.

I actually began considering Career Step even before I decided to become a pharmacy technician. I had thought about going into medical transcription and had looked at other online schools as well as the local community college to get a feel for what would work for me. I was amazed that the community college offered the Career Step training as their program! As I looked more into Career Step, I was mainly drawn to the school for the amount of training offered for such an affordable price: curriculum, books, instructor access, and graduate support was all included in my price range. I also liked the idea of the ease of access the online training offered and that I could study on my own time at my own pace. Though I began by looking at the Medical Transcription program, I eventually decided that the pharmacy technician course seemed like a better fit for me.

My Training

When I started the Pharmacy Technician training course in mid-December I was working full-time. But due to circumstances beyond my control, my hours were dropped to part time, so I had a little more time to devote to studying. I studied whenever I could and tried to set goals for myself: to get a certain number of pages done by the end of the week or specific due dates for modules. I loved that I could study when it was convenient for me, and because I travel to see my boyfriend, I could study at his place or mine. Because of the program’s flexibility, I was able to move at a fairly fast pace and finish the course with plenty of time to spare.

I graduated from the training program in mid-March. I sat for the PTCB Exam (PTCE) within a week of graduation and passed with flying colors—even though I was sick with food poisoning the day of! The Career Step course thoroughly prepared me for the exam, and I felt very confident going in because the Career Step final required a higher passing score than the PTCE. I was familiar with all the subjects on the test, and Career Step provided me with the knowledge and skills necessary to do well.

My Payoff

As soon as I earned my Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential, I started my job search. I used online resources to see what positions were available in my area, and I applied at hospitals, compounding pharmacies, retail/community pharmacies, and long-term healthcare pharmacies. I received two interviews immediately, was called back for both of them, and was ultimately offered both positions. Since I could choose, I accepted the one that was a better fit for me and my goals.

I received my job offers within two weeks of graduating, and less than a month after graduation I started my new job. I’m now working at a compounding pharmacy (the compounding modules in the Career Step program interested me the most), and I believe Career Step was great preparation because I’m doing quite well. Everyone is impressed with my knowledge of drugs, my quickness at learning, and my certification. I feel that Career Step’s program, particularly the Basics of Compounding module, has built an important foundation for me especially with non-sterile compounding, safety and cleanliness, drug names, documentation of controlled substances, and calculations. The Career Step program offers a fun, personalized way to prepare for a new career and provides everything you need to succeed!

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