Pharmacy Technician Schooling and Training Options

The work completed by a pharmacist is coupled with the needed assistance of a technician. Several schooling options exist for students interested in working inside the pharmacy industry. Students will gain a valuable skill set through one of the available educational programs. Pharmacy technician schooling and training options are available at the certificate and associate’s degree levels.

Pharmacy technician’s assist pharmacists by administering medication, providing customer service, and conducting clerical work. This general breakdown of job tasks is learned through specific medical study that prepares students to fulfill their roles inside a pharmacy, hospital, nursing home, and more. Students can expect to learn how to assist in the workplace by completing duties that may include:

  • Preparing a prescription by counting, weighing, and sometimes mixing the needed medication.
  • Maintaining patient files and preparing different medical insurance paperwork
  • Clerical work: includes answering phones, operating industry technologies, and receiving prescription requests

Depending on the level of education and experience students may find themselves performing more or less duties. Schools provide students with the required knowledge to accurately assist in the workplace making education at the certificate program or associate’s degree level very beneficial. The main difference between programs is the length. Certificate programs last approximately two to six months and an associate’s degree is usually a two-year program. Each educational path prepares students to become technicians. Associate degree programs incorporate general education courses, which make program lengths longer than a certificate program.

In certificate programs students learn the skills to fill medications, process insurance claims, and understand pharmacy procedures. Education covers all industry related areas and teaches students how to perform job related activities under the federal and state regulation laws for pharmacies. Curriculum covers subjects that include:

  • Microbiology
  • Pharmacy Laws
  • Metric measurements

Upon completion of a program students are ready to take a certification exam. Students can complete the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board exam or the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians exam. Becoming certified is optional, however, many employers choose to hire individuals that are certified. Certification shows employers that the people they hire understand every area of the field.

An associate’s degree is lab and hands-on intensive, which is extremely useful when transitioning into a career. Students should expect to earn strong fundamental knowledge of medical coding, terminology, pharmacology, and medical procedure. Coursework could include:

  • Drug Interactions
  • Chemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Products

Curriculum centers on providing students with the skills to mix and fill prescriptions. Students will understand how to assist a pharmacist with medications and provide medical information to patients in regards to their prescription. Students enter the profession knowing how to work with pharmacy technology and medication interactions. Further study is obtainable inside a bachelor’s degree program. Students that continue education though graduate schools and colleges study to become pharmacists.

Learn the ins and outs of being a technician by working through a program inside an accredited school. Students can find the program for them at the certificate or associate’s degree level by examining the different pharmacy technician schools that provide programs for this career. The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education ( http://www.acpe-accredit.org/ ) provides accreditation to schools and colleges that offer the best training programs.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at PETAP.org.

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