A pharmacy technology associate's degree program teaches students about the reaction between the human body and certain drugs. They learn how to process insurance details, package or label orders and monitor inventory. Typically, these programs require an internship under the supervision of a pharmacist. Graduates are prepared for professional certification. Applicants for these 2-year programs need a high school diploma or GED.
Associate's Degree in Applied Science: Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technician programs cover various topics such as pharmaceutical terminology, record keeping, ethics and law. Along with general education requirements, students learn about various drugs, their uses and dosage. Courses may include:
- Pharmacy procedures
- Calculation and measurement
- Medical terminology
- Pharmacy management
- Pharmacy law and ethics
Popular Career Options
Pharmacy technician graduates have the opportunity to pursue a career in several healthcare areas. Some possible options include:
- Pharmaceutical care associate
- Medical records manager
- Pharmacy records manager
- Pharmacy billing specialist
- Specialty pharmacy technician
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), pharmacy technician jobs were expected to increase by 9% between 2014 and 2024, which was much faster than all other jobs. This was partly due to the aging population that required more prescription drugs. The median annual wage in May 2015 for pharmacy technicians was $30,410. The BLS noted that many pharmacy technicians work in hospitals, grocery and department stores.
Some states require pharmacy technicians to be registered and certified. Requirements vary by state, but many accept the certification offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). To earn this certification, individuals must meet education standards and pass a certifying exam. The PTCB exam includes topics in maintaining medication and inventory systems, patient service and pharmacy management. Recertification standards can be met through completing continuing education requirements.
An associate's degree in pharmacy technology teaches students the necessary pharmacy science, procedures and management skills necessary to prepare for professional certification to be a pharmacy technician.