Pharmacist Assistant School and College Program Overviews

Pharmacist assistant or technician certificate programs prepare students to work in a pharmacy at a medical clinic, hospital, nursing home or retail store. Students in these programs learn how to count tablets, label bottles, handle entries on the computer and provide medication and advice to patients.

Essential Information

Through a pharmacy assistant certificate program, students gain an understanding of medical terminology and pharmacology and learn to perform the basic tasks of a pharmacy technician, including measuring, labeling and dispensing medications. Students learn to interact with patients and build bookkeeping, administrative, math and organizational skills. Certification is available - and sometimes required - for pharmacy technicians.

  • Prerequisites: High school diploma
  • Other Requirements : Practicums and lab work are required for most programs

Pharmacy Assistant Certificate

In order to succeed in a pharmacy assistant certificate program, students need to know medical terminology. In these programs, students learn about verifying prescriptions and stocking prescription and over-the-counter medications. Pharmacy assistant programs usually include a mix of classroom and laboratory learning, as well as one or more practicums. Specific areas of study might include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Pharmacist technology
  • Basic mathematics
  • Pharmacy record keeping
  • Introduction to computers
  • Pharmaceutical calculations

Employment Outlook and Salary

Employment of pharmacy technicians was forecast to grow 20% between 2012 and 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( This was much faster than average. An increasing number of aging baby boomers needing prescription medication was expected to keep pharmacy techs in high demand. As of May 2014, pharmacy technicians earned a mean salary of $31,090.

Continuing Education

Most states have education requirements for pharmacy technicians and require that they pass a criminal background check. Some states and employers also mandate certification through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the National Health Career Association. Even if not required, certification could prove beneficial since it can make it easier to find a job as a pharmacy tech.

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