How the PCOA Benefits Pharmacy Students


Students can use the Pharmacy Curriculum Outcomes Assessment to show potential employers that they are prepared to enter practice.

The Pharmacy Curriculum Outcomes Assessment (PCOA) was developed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) as a tool for pharmacy schools to assess their curriculum and meet Standard 24 of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) Standards 2016.

Under this standard, pharmacy schools are required to have students complete the assessment around the completion of their didactic coursework in order to determine whether they are prepared to enter pharmacy practice.

While many students will view this as yet another test that they have to take, there is potential for them to benefit from the assessment and use it to their advantage.

According to the PCOA website, schools are given an Individual Student Score Report that breaks down how each student performed in the specified areas. The report also shows the student’s percentile rank and comparison with national results.

Students can request copies of their report from their school and use it as a tool to show potential employers or residency sites that they are prepared to enter practice. Those who perform well on the assessment can also use their percentile rank to stand out from their competition.

Furthermore, if students completed the assessment throughout their pharmacy school career, then they can use their results to show their progression and trainability to potential residency sites or employers.

The PCOA seems to have benefits that extend beyond the purpose of a curriculum assessment, as its results could potentially help pharmacy students secure jobs or residency positions.

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