Pharmacy Tech College Program Options

Pharmacy technicians, also known as pharmacy techs, help pharmacists fill prescriptions by counting, pouring, weighing and measuring medications. Training programs for prospective pharmacy techs result in a certificate or an associate's degree.

Essential Information

In a pharmacist tech school, a certificate program will focus on the basics of medication preparation and dispensing as well as ordering and payment processes. In an associate's degree program, students study administrative and business practices in the pharmacy industry in addition to pharmacy tech duties, such as dispensing and customer service. In addition to lectures and classroom training, students complete field experiences. Certification could be required depending on the state in which the student expects to work.

To begin training as a pharmacy tech, students must first have a high school diploma or GED.

Pharmacy Technician Certificate Programs Vocational or technical schools and community colleges generally offer a pharmacy tech certificate of completion after two semesters of work. Pharmacy tech schools teach about units and measures for calculating dosages, pharmaceutical abbreviations and medical terminology. Students learn to maintain patient files, take inventory and stock medications. These studies are preparatory for required certification examinations, such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board's (PTCB) exam. Classes are math and science intensive. Clinical work and lectures are the main components and give students field experience. Some course topics may include the following: *Calculating dosages *Ordering medications *Payment and insurance *Pharmacy ethics and law *Preparing medications *Processing prescriptions !!!Pharmacy Technician Associate's Degree Programs These programs are available at the same pharmacy tech colleges as certificates but take two years to complete. Students are instructed in pharmacology, physiology and anatomy and learn how to use the appropriate software and technology. By the end of the program, they are prepared to take the required examinations and know how to accurately fill prescriptions and educate patients. A psychology class is often included in these programs. Additional classes are: *Business applications *Clinical practice *Dispensing prescriptions *Medical terminology *Pharmacy administration and insurance *Pharmacy customer service ---- !!Popular Career Options Pharmacy tech college graduates are qualified to work in nursing homes, department stores, grocery stores, drugstores and hospitals. Common positions are: *Pharmacy technician *Pharmacy manager *Registered pharmacist assistant !!Employment Outlook and Salary Information Pharmacy tech positions were expected to grow 9% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (''''). In May 2015, the BLS reported that the mean annual wage for pharmacy techs was $31,680. !!Continuing Education Information It is necessary for pharmacy techs to keep their knowledge up to date, which may require taking additional classes. Some states also demand additional certification from the PTCB, such as the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT). In as little as two semesters, students can earn a certificate that will prepare them for work as a pharmacy technician. Two years of study, on the other hand, will earn students an associate's degree. Both programs prepare graduates for required exams to work in the field.

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