Online pharmacy technician diploma programs are quite common. Students enrolled in these programs typically need to complete clinical training in an on-site pharmacy setting, but traditional coursework can be completed entirely online. These programs prepare students for state certification exams. Although not every state requires pharmacy technicians to be certified, certain employers may require it or look more favorably upon job applicants who are certified.
Related Program Options
Perhaps a student knows that an allied health career is right for them, but they're not sure if they want to work in a pharmacy setting. Related programs leading to work in clinics, hospitals, doctors' offices and dental offices are available online and include:
- Medical Assisting
- Dental Assisting
All of these programs can be found at the diploma level. Though much of the coursework can be completed online, some training must be completed in person due to the clinical nature of these programs.
Pharmacy Technician Diploma
Many schools offer online diploma programs in pharmacy technology. The programs teach students to assist with medical prescription preparation under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. They learn about pharmaceutical medications and products, human anatomy and pharmaceutical mathematics.
To gain entrance into these science-intensive programs, schools may require an interview and letters of recommendation. Immunization records, criminal background checks and drug tests may also be required. Students often need to possess certification in CPR and first aid as well.
Program Information and Requirements
The coursework in the online pharmacy technician diploma program can be taken completely via the Internet using a school's course management system. Students submit assignments, take tests and talk with others in their class within this virtual environment. Access to a computer, reliable Internet connection, word processing software and spreadsheet software are standard technical requirements.
Pharmacy technician programs require clinical practicums in a pharmaceutical setting. These on-site experiences provide real-world training for students. Some schools may give partial credit towards the clinical requirements if a student already works in a pharmacy. The entire program typically takes about one year to finish.
Pharmacy Technician Courses
General education courses are not usually a major component of a diploma program; however, each school sets its own requirements. Possible general education courses include English, oral communications, psychology, algebra and chemistry. Other courses focus on the knowledge and skills needed to succeed as a pharmacy technician.
The course teaches students about the categories of therapeutic drugs and products. They learn how they are classified and how they affect the body.
Students learn about the origins of and the word parts that comprise medical terms. They find out how to use these terms in both written and oral communications.
This course covers procedures for preparing and dispensing therapeutic agents in a pharmacy. Technicians' responsibilities and duties are also discussed.
Graduates with a diploma in pharmacy technology can find work in a variety of pharmacy settings, including those in retail stores, hospitals or long-term care facilities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment growth for pharmacy technicians could increase an estimated 9% over the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). These workers earned an average yearly wage of $31,680 during 2015, according to BLS data. Most worked in retail store settings.
Continuing Education Information
Most pharmacy technicians are required to register with their state's pharmacy board, although each state has differing regulations regarding the profession. Applications for registration are typically available online on the pharmacy board's website. According to the BLS, most states don't require certification, but voluntary credentials are available through organizations such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT), the latter of which is part of the National Healthcareer Association.
The examinations are conducted at professional testing sites or schools throughout the country. Both organizations require pharmacy technicians to re-certify every two years. They must complete 20 hours of continuing education during each 2-year period to maintain their certification.
Online pharmacy technician diploma programs typically combine traditional online coursework with clinical training. Registration is typically required in order to work as a pharmacy technician, and additional certification is available.