CareerStep has established partnerships with Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy to offer our students and graduates externship opportunities in their local areas. This is invaluable experience as you’re preparing for the workforce because you’ll have the chance to use the knowledge and skills you’re gaining within the program in the real world. You’ll also be able to start building your professional network as you work with pharmacists and other pharmacy technicians. The externships are usually optional (this may depend on your state though), but we encourage all of our students to take advantage of this excellent learning opportunity!
Pharmacy Tech students, graduates, and completion students can all take advantage of CareerStep’s externship program. If you are a student, you need to meet the requirements of 85% on all the unit tests and module exams, be current in your program access (not expired), and have completed up through Pharmaceutical Calculations in your program. If you’re a graduate or completion student, you need to be within the first 6 months of your graduation.
When you reach Pharmaceutical Calculations in the program, there is a prompt telling you that you are eligible to start the externship process and who to email to express your interest. We will get that email once you submit it, and once you do, we will verify you meet those requirements and then send you information about the externships and the process. You will then need to complete 5 required steps (verifying address, checking your state requirements for registration, acknowledging that you’ve read various things, etc.) and then send us an email that you have done so.
At that point we begin coordinating with our contacts at Walgreens and/or CVS to identify a potential externship site for you. We don’t guarantee externships because it can happen that there isn’t a pharmacy in your area that has an opening for an extern (they may already have an extern or not enough resources to bring them on), but we have had success in placing the large majority of those who meet the requirements and have expressed interest.
The placement process can take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month+ depending on how quickly we hear back from all of our contacts (and we are usually communicating with multiple individuals with Walgreens/CVS to arrange a site). Once a site is identified, we email you the site information and the materials (i.e.: log sheet/badge) you need to get started, and then you work with your individual pharmacy manager after that.
The externships are 180 hours and once you’re done, you will email/fax the paperwork back to us and let us know. We’ve had a number of instances where externs have been hired by the pharmacy they extern with, but that is entirely based on performance, the pharmacy’s needs, and their hiring decision.
Overall, the pharmacy externship opportunity is a great way to start your career as a pharmacy technician, and we hope you’ll take advantage of it!