Tips for a Successful Certification Course



1. Know your exam!

This sounds so simple, right? Of course, you know your exam; you teach the content! But do you really? Have you or your staff taken the exam recently? Knowing the content that you teach and knowing what is on the exam are very different things! Knowing what is on the exam can save you time in teaching content that your students don’t really need to earn a passing score. Especially in an accelerated course, it’s important to focus on the material students immediately need. I recommend speaking to each and every student after they take the exam. Chances are, they will remember a few things that they saw. Use this information to help change and build your curriculum and to pass on to future testers.


2. Get Started Early!

This can be tough at times because students are enrolled at all different times for different schools. Try to send out your registration for the next session well in advance so that schools can begin signing students up as they have them. This allows you and the student to build a communication and trust base ahead of time. It also allows the student to prepare for what is to come within the course. During this time, engage your students on your platforms (ex. Google classroom, social media).


3. Hold an orientation session!

Holding an orientation allows you to allocate that time to make it clear to your students what they can expect from your course moving forward as well as the requirements of the course. It allows time for students to get to know their fellow classmates and it allows time to work through any computer issues and answer any questions or concerns that students may have.


4. Provide different ways to learn!

Sneaking in learning opportunities and studying is so easy with today’s technology. Social media can provide a platform for pop up questions for students to answer. Google classroom provides a stream option where instead of just posting an announcement, you can add a question at the end of each announcement and require students to comment with their answers. At the end of each class, as a “ticket” to leave, have students announce one thing they have learned so far (Example: “Januvia is a drug used for diabetes”) The more they repeat it, they more they write it, the more they see it; the better they will remember it.


5. Encourage Team Building!

At KLR Pharmacy Technician Training School, we have found that this is so important. Encourage students to get to know one another - even in an online course where students are from multiple different areas, this is doable with the stream section in google classroom. Encourage students to share their contact information with one another - when given this tool, students often make a group chat and discuss questions on assignments and offer encouragement for one another. Offer extra credit for students who study together (facetime, in person, zoom, etc). Offer your students a way to get to know and lean on alumni whom they can ask questions and learn from as well. It’s important that they see that several others have put in the same amount of work they are now putting in!


6. Build confidence!

Too many let-downs, too many who have allowed them to give up on themselves, too many stresses - these things take such a toll and oftentimes students come into our courses fully expecting to fail. Build them up by getting to know them on a personal level which lets them know that you do care. Build them up with words of encouragement, calling on them when you KNOW they know the answer. Build them up by charging them with assisting another student in an area they may be learning quickly. This is such an easy step, but it truly makes all the difference.


7. Utilize your resources!

The students enrolled into your course often have a coach, CCR, director, etc and that’s what they are here for! They want the students to succeed in your course just as much as you do. Utilize them, keeping in mind to utilize them ahead of time, before it’s too late. Do not wait until your student has missed 2 classes and has ten missing assignments to call in help. At KLR Pharmacy Technician Training School, we begin that outreach when a student is 2 minutes late or the day the assignments aren’t turned in on time!


8. Don’t provide an option to fail!

Do you have students who aren’t passing because they came to 3 out of 22 classes? Change your attendance policy. Do you have students who turn in failing work and you know they didn’t learn a thing from it? Require that all assignments meet a specific grade percentage, or it must be redone. More often than not, students will quickly learn that it’s best to spend quality time completing assignments the first time rather than redoing the entire assignment! Still having trouble getting students to pass their big exam? Put a policy in place that requires students to have a specific passing score on your midterm or final as well as a specific overall grade in the course before they will be admitted to take the big exam.


9. Hold them accountable!

When given the opportunity to do so, you will find that most people will surprise you. Hold your students accountable for showing up to class on time (At KLR Pharmacy Technician Training School, students are late if they aren’t ten minutes early!) Hold them accountable for completing their work on time and for participating during class. Most of all, hold them accountable for reaching their goals. They must believe above all else that you do care and that you won’t give up on them. Ask your students early on about why they are doing this; and remind them often.


10. Embrace frequent change!

What works for one class, might not work for the next. These exams change, material changes, technology changes. Get into the habit of reviewing your policies and procedures every couple of weeks. Really look at how students are doing; individually and as a group and make changes as needed. Sometimes, asking the students what they feel would help them learn better is necessary!


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