The pharmacy technology program typically takes two years to complete. Students learn about preparing prescriptions, creating and maintaining patient profiles, maintaining pharmacy inventories and dealing with insurance issues. They also come to know how a pharmacy functions and the role of a technician in assisting the pharmacist. They may participate in internships and seminars as they learn how to work as a productive part of the pharmacy team. Graduates can pursue work in settings such as hospitals, drug stores, retail pharmacies and health care organizations.
Prospective students may need to have completed some math and science courses in high school and hold cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification. Some programs require them to pass a criminal background check and drug screening.
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Associate's Degree in Pharmacy Technology
Students complete classroom and clinical study in a pharmacy technology program. Future pharmacy techs learn about specialized skills, such as measuring medication accurately, in order to perform the job as a pharmacy technician effectively. This program offers additional opportunities where students can apply what they have learned in the classroom, such as internships and seminars. Other class topics may include:
- Pharmacy law
- Pharmacy record keeping
- Sterilization and safety
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), pharmacy technicians held about 372,500 jobs in 2014 (www.bls.gov). The BLS projected a 9% increase in employment for these technicians from 2014-2024. This growth is faster than the average for all occupations and is expected due to factors that include an increase in the number of people using medications regularly, the introduction of new medications and an increase in the aging population using prescription drugs. In May 2014, the BLS reported a median annual wage of $30,410 for pharmacy technicians.
Continuing Education Info
Associate of Applied Science programs in pharmacy technology aren't usually designed to transfer to a bachelor's program. However, individuals who work as a pharmacy technician have to be registered in most states. Technicians may also decide to obtain voluntary certification through professional organizations such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board.
Students who earn an associate of specialized technology in pharmacy technology or an associate of applied science in pharmacy technology will learn more about pharmacy law, sterilization and safety and pharmacology. Voluntary certification is available for graduates of this degree program.