Associate of Pharmacy Technician: Degree Overview

Pharmacy technician associate degree programs provide students with the knowledge and skills they'll need to fill support roles within clinical or retail pharmacies. Discover common subjects and skills taught in these programs, and learn about career opportunities.

Essential Information

Students learn about pharmaceuticals and administrative duties, preparing to support pharmacists in the task of providing appropriate medications and information to patients and customers. Like most associate's degree programs, an Associate of Pharmacy Technician degree program usually takes two years to complete. With this degree, graduates can either go on to pursue further education at the baccalaureate level or find employment in a pharmacy, where they can advance to management-level positions with experience.

Associate's Degree in Pharmacy Technician

A high school diploma or equivalent is usually required for admittance to associate programs. To complete a pharmacy technician associate's degree, students take courses in a range of topics, including chemistry basics and clerical duties. Other courses are likely to include:

  • Medical Terminology
  • Pharmaceutical Calculations
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Inventory Management
  • Ethics
  • Psychology

Skills Obtained

Students studying to become pharmacy technicians learn how to interact with both pharmacists and the public in order to ensure both are served in any given transaction. Additional skills the program develops include:

  • Decision making skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Computer skills
  • Knowledge of drug interactions
  • Understanding of pharmaceutical terminology
  • Mathematical skills
  • Interpersonal communication abilities

Salary Information

Pharmacy technicians are often paid hourly, and, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), their median wage in May of 2015 was $14.62 per hour. Certifications, shift and union status, however, can affect this number. The highest 10% of pharmacy technicians earned more than $21.65 hourly in 2015, according to the BLS.

Economic Outlook and Growth of the Industry

The BLS reports that the job outlook for those with a pharmacy technician degree is very good, as the field is expected to expand by 9% between 2014 and 2024. This rapid growth is largely due to the aging of the baby boomers, who will need more health care services as they approach their golden years.

Associate of Pharmacy Technician degree programs train students in various aspects of pharmacy assistance, including inventory management, medical terminology, pharmacy ethics, and more. Graduates can often find entry-level pharmacy employment and work their way up to higher-level positions or pursue more advanced degrees in the field.

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