Pharmacy technicians assist licensed pharmacists in dispensing prescription drugs, filling prescriptions and completing sales of prescription and over-the-counter medications. A person seeking an Associate in Applied Science in Pharmacy Technician degree must be fluent in the local language, and must have good auditory perception for taking verbal instruction as well as fine motor skills for the safe handling of liquid medications and pills of various sizes. Most colleges require a transcript and a minimum grade point average (GPA). They may also require SAT or ACT scores, along with a high school diploma or equivalent. Programs are available in both traditional on-campus formats and online.
Associate of Applied Science in Pharmacy Technician
Curriculum in a pharmacy technician associate degree program focuses on pharmacology, basic medical knowledge and practical skills for working in a pharmacy. Students who successfully complete an associate's degree program for pharmacy technicians are prepared to sit for one or both of the national pharmacy technician certification exams, which are required for employment in most states. The following courses are typical of a pharmacy technician program:
- Pharmaceutical ethical and legal issues
- Introduction to pharmacology
- Pharmacy math
- Pharmacy and billing software
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that job opportunities for pharmacy technicians are expected to grow 9% during the 2014 to 2024 period. This growth rate is largely due to expected pharmaceutical advances and increasing treatments for the middle-aged and elderly. As reported by the BLS, pharmacy technicians made a mean yearly salary of $31,680 in 2015.
Graduates of a pharmacy technician associate program can advance in the pharmacy field with bachelor's degrees in pre-pharmacy or biology. Pharmacy technicians need to be recertified every two years. Within the 2-year certification period, pharmacy technicians must complete 20 hours of continuing education courses. These courses may be taken at community colleges, pharmacy technician training programs or through pharmacy associations. Ten of these required continuing education hours may be earned under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist in on-the-job training.
An associate degree in applied science in pharmacy technician provides the training and education needed to work as a pharmacy tech. It also provides a great foundation for advancing into a higher degree in the field. The program also helps future technicians get prepared for the required certification.