Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Anesthesiologist Assistant
- Chiropractic Technician
- Clinical Laboratory Assistant
- EMT Ambulance
- Health Aide
- Home Health Aide
- Medical or Clinical Assistant
- Medication Aide
- Occupational Therapist Assistant
- Pathology Assistant
- Pharmacy Technician
- Physical Therapist Assistant
- Respiratory Therapy Technician
- Veterinary Technician
Associate's degree programs that train pharmacy technicians are readily available in on-campus, fully-online and hybrid programs. It's possible to complete the required coursework online and take part in an in-person clinical experience or internship through some degree programs. Some programs require that students have completed a placement exam or obtained CPR certification before enrolling.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the educational and licensing requirements for pharmacy technicians vary by state, so check with your state regulations before choosing an educational program. Look for accredited programs, since some states require certification through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the National Healthcareer Association.
Pharmacy Technician Associate's Degree
Pharmacy technicians are responsible for filling patient prescriptions, filing insurance claims and ordering medication under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. In an online associate's program, students learn to prepare prescription orders and manage drug inventory.
Some programs may require a pre-admission placement exam in addition to current certification in CPR and first aid. Online certificate programs in this field are also available and can be completed in six months.
Program Information and Requirements
A computer with Internet access is required. While taking required coursework online allows students the flexibility of working from home, this hybrid program requires some hands-on experience before completion. Tests and lectures are accessed using common video and audio applications, while some programs also require students to attend on-site lab sessions as part of the curriculum.
Upon completion of the curriculum, students enroll in a clinical internship under the guidance of a professional pharmacist. Most students receive their degree within two years, after which they are eligible to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE).
General education requirements for an associate's degree program includes English and math. Some courses may be offered online as part of the program's curriculum; otherwise they can be taken at local colleges and technical schools.
Students discuss the responsibilities of pharmacists and technicians, including patient confidentiality and professional conduct.
Students are taught to interpret the prescription instructions of doctors and physicians. Basic and advanced terms related to drug administration are introduced.
Pharmaceutical Calculations in Practice
In this course, teachers use real-life examples to illustrate the process of calculating dosage. Students learn how to use pharmacy equipment, reference guides and error-checking systems to properly formulate prescriptions for patients.
Employment of technicians is projected to increase at a faster-than-average rate of 9% between 2014 and 2024, as noted by the BLS (www.bls.com). The rapid increase is expected to be due to advances in pharmaceutical research and an aging population that contribute to a growing number of medications being prescribed. The BLS reported a median annual salary of $30,410 for pharmacy technicians as of May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Technicians interested in becoming pharmacists may decide to pursue a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.). A typical Pharm.D. program takes four years to complete and has general education and pre-pharmacy course prerequisites, including statistics, chemistry and calculus. Some programs are available in an online hybrid format.
Pharmacy technician programs are available fully online at the associate's degree level. Some programs may require an internship, which can prepare graduates to take national certification exams and qualify them for state licensure.