Pharmacy tech program earns accreditation

Derek Leiter in the lab Published May 09, 2023

The pharmacy technician program at College of Lake County (CLC) joined a select group of institutions in Illinois, receiving accreditation two years after the program began. CLC’s program is just the 7th in the state to become accredited, and it’s the first in the northeastern suburbs.

Students interested in becoming a pharmacy tech can complete the program in only 11 months. The CLC curriculum gives students the education and experience needed to become nationally certified.

Accreditation is an important milestone for any new program, and it reflects the quality of education and training that students receive. For CLC's pharmacy technician program, accreditation means that graduates can be confident that they have the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in this fast-growing field.

“The board saw we were teaching the right stuff,” said Pharmacy Technician Instructor Derek Leiter. “Nearly all students had a job lined up before graduating, and it wasn’t just any job, but a job they wanted. People in the current cohort are already lining up jobs before they even take the national exam.”

Along with nearly all graduates finding jobs before graduating, the program's first cohort had a 100% pass rate on the certification exam, further demonstrating the quality of the education they received.

Bill Rivera started the program last August. At age 53, Rivera was in the Navy for over 20 years before spending seven years in construction, but he wanted to make a career change.

After briefly working in manufacturing at a Lake County pharmaceutical company, he developed an interest in the industry. Once he started at CLC, Rivera began working two part-time jobs at Wauconda Pharmacy and Lake Behavioral Hospital thanks to Leiter’s connections in the industry. Rivera likes hands-on learning, so he benefited from working his jobs and applying what he was learning in the classroom.

As it developed the curriculum, CLC worked closely with an advisory board of experts in Lake County. They ensured the education fit the local employers’ needs. The new accreditation gives students a competitive advantage when looking for a job after graduation.

“We learned a lot of necessary healthcare solutions can happen at pharmacies,” he said. “Something like getting a vaccine at a pharmacy might've been odd before, but now it's commonplace. Pharmacies went from being a place to get a treatment like medicine to a place for prevention like vaccines and consultation services.”

Students enrolled in this program are eligible for funds through the Pipeline for the Advancement of the Healthcare Workforce Program (PATH) grant. Students will receive a stipend to pay for educational and living expenses. For more information, visit