Pharmacy Aide Classes and Courses Overview

Pharmacy aides, which are more commonly known as pharmacy technicians, are responsible for tasks that do not necessarily require formal education. However, those wishing to enter the field may choose to enroll in pharmacy technician courses, which focus primarily on pharmacy practices and responsibilities.

Essential Information

Pharmacy aide or technician programs are typically offered as part of a certificate program; however, associate degree programs are also available. These programs can take from one semester to about two years to complete and generally combine labs and clinical experiences with courses.

Concepts that are commonly addressed in pharmacy technician programs include:

  • Dosage calculations
  • Pharmacy technician responsibilities
  • Pharmacy computer systems
  • Pharmacy laws and regulations
  • Retail and hospital pharmacy practices

Many states require pharmacy technicians to earn licensure and/or certification and many pharmacy technician programs prepare students for necessary exams leading to this licensure or certification.

List of Pharmacy Technician Courses

Introduction to Pharmacy Course

Students learn the pharmacy technician's primary duties and responsibilities in community and institutional settings. They acquire skills needed by pharmacy techs, including familiarity with computer networks, prescription interpretation and medication dispensing. Other topics include ethics and legal standards for pharmacy staff, drug control practices and a survey of the health care system.

Pharmacy Calculations Course

The class reviews basic mathematics and provides instruction in pharmacology measurements and calculations. Instructors teach students to use apothecary, metric and household measuring methods, to interpret prescription language and to calculate appropriate dosages. Topics include flow rates, reducing or increasing formulae, proportions and dilutions.

Pharmacology Course

Students become familiar with medication and drug classifications and the principles used in classification systems. They discuss side effects common to groups of medications, diseases treated by classes of drugs and drug interactions. Class assignments teach safe handling practices for each class of drug. Topics also include controlled substances, drug abuse and drug addictions.

Dispensing & Compounding Course

The class develops students' abilities to store and dispense all types of medications, such as liquids, pills and topical creams. They learn to compound and dilute medications, proper medication storage and safe use of pharmacy equipment. Other topics include drug packaging and labeling standards, health care organizations and inventory control systems. Assignments highlight practical skills in compounding and handling sterile, hazardous and non-sterile medicines and materials.

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