Medicines develop constantly and more people need to get their prescriptions so they can manage their health condition.
As a result, there is a growing demand for pharmacy technicians who usually assist pharmacists.
It is a great career for anyone who wants to obtain a fulfilling and rewarding job.
Also, you only need a diploma or a certificate that can be earned in a year, if you want to obtain some entry-level job.
You should know that the career of a pharmacy technician can be a safe bet that provides you with some good income.
According to the data, this job outlook will grow by 12% in the near future.
Also. it can be a great opportunity to enter the healthcare industry if you want to obtain some other career in the future.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 How to Choose a Pharmacy Technician Program
- 1.1 Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program
- 1.2 Pharmacy Technician Diploma Program
- 1.3 Pharmacy Technician Associate Degree
- 2 Becoming a Certified Pharmacy Technician
- 3 Average Salary
- 4 Advancing Your Career in Pharmacy Technician
- 5 Career and Employment Outlook for Pharmacy Technicians
- 6 Programmatic Accreditation for Pharmacy Technician Programs
- 7 Pharmacy Technician Program Admissions
- 8 Pharmacy Technician Classes
- 9 Professional Organizations in Pharmacy Technician
How to Choose a Pharmacy Technician Program
Before choosing a program, first of all, you need to understand the difference between such things as certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees.
After determining the certification you are interested in, you can start looking for a program considering such points as curriculum, price, length, and so on.
In most cases, when choosing a program, students pay much attention to the training length.
If you want to get a certificate or a diploma, it usually requires about a year of training but when it comes to an associate degree, you need at least two years of training.
Also, there is a possibility to get your degree online and it offers accelerated coursework so you can complete your training faster.
Nevertheless, most students give preference to traditional on-campus training.
Moreover, there are schools and colleges that may require some in-person internship so you can complete your training.
If you don’t want to spend lots of money, you should consider enrolling in a program offered by public community colleges in your state.
Speaking of such options as out-of-state schools, longer programs, and private institutions, usually, cost significantly more.
Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program
Enrolling in a pharmacy technician certificate program, you can learn some basic aspects so you can apply for entry-level positions.
You should know that most schools use such notions as ‘certificate’ and ‘diploma’ as synonyms.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean it leads to certification but it can help you to get ready for the test.
Certificate Program Cost
In fact, the cost of a program depends on the school you are interested in.
The average price of such a program is between $1 500-$5000.
Certificate Completion Time
Usually, you need about 4-12 months including an internship to complete your training and obtain a diploma.
Pharmacy Technician Diploma Program
A pharmacy technician diploma program is one other opportunity to enroll in some entry-level career.
As we’ve mentioned before, lots of schools use ‘certificate’ and ‘diploma’ notions as interchangeable but it has nothing to do with certification.
In other words, after completing one of such programs you won’t get a certification but it will allow you to sit for the certification exam.
Diploma Program Cost
The cost of a pharmacy technician diploma program varies between $1 500-$5000.
Diploma Completion Time
It takes about 4-12 months to complete your training and obtain a diploma.
Usually, it includes not only classes but also internships.
Pharmacy Technician Associate Degree
If you are interested in a Pharmacy Technician Associate Degree, you should know that your training may require some more time and money.
However, it offers a higher level of knowledge and there are also some general courses included in such programs.
In fact, it can provide you with some better career options and will allow you to continue your training in the future.
Associate Degree Program Cost
The price of an associate degree program varies between $8000-$25 000.
The cost depends on the school you are interested in.
Associate Degree Completion Time
In order to get your pharmacy technician associate degree, you need to spend about 2 years on your training.
It is a full-time study that usually includes some internship as well.
Becoming a Certified Pharmacy Technician
In some states, to be able to work as a pharmacy technician, you need to obtain a certification.
Even if it is not required in your state, you should consider obtaining it in any case as it can provide you with some better career options.
In order to be able to obtain a certification, you need to complete some training, have a high-school diploma, complete a criminal background check, and sit for the certification exam.
There is an opportunity to get your certification online addressing the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board.
Also, you can obtain a certification at the National Healthcareer Association.
Each of these organizations offers its own exam and provides materials that can help students prepare for the test.
If you want to be qualified for the exam, you need to have at least 20 hours of training every 2 years.
Addressing the PTCB, you can also obtain a sterile compounding certification.
Working as a pharmacy technician, you can earn about $26,957 per year.
Certified pharmacy technicians usually earn a salary of about $29,141 annually.
Advancing Your Career in Pharmacy Technician
If you are a pharmacy technician and want to advance your career, you should consider getting some extra education.
You cannot get a pharmacy technician bachelor’s degree or graduate degree at most vocational schools but you can enroll in some other related programs.
For example, you can get a degree in pharmaceutical sciences or business if you want to apply for a career in pharmacy management.
In case you want to become a pharmacist, you should enroll in a doctoral degree program.
By getting some additional training, you have an opportunity to get a better job and a higher salary.
After obtaining a bachelor’s degree or higher, you have an opportunity to get a job in management.
You can also transfer to other medical fields depending on your degree.
Career and Employment Outlook for Pharmacy Technicians
After completing a pharmacy technician training program, you can work as a pharmacy technician in a drugstore, pharmacy, or other medical facility.
After obtaining some experience and completing additional training, you can apply for various supervisory pharmacy roles.
Certified Pharmacy Technician
Certified Pharmacy Technicians support pharmacists helping them to dispense medications.
The list of their responsibilities includes various customer services, inventory maintenance, and medicines compounding.
Usually, to work as a pharmacy technician you need to complete a postsecondary education certificate or diploma.
In most cases, these specialists work in drug stores and pharmacies.
Average Annual Salary: $29,141
Training Requirements: Postsecondary Education Program
Lead Pharmacy Technician
If you want to work as a lead pharmacy technician, you need to complete an associate degree program.
Their responsibilities are almost the same as those of certified pharmacy technicians but also they may perform management duties, and provide guidance, training, and support for other pharmacy technicians.
Also, they may identify errors and conduct audits.
Average Annual Salary: $34,237
Training Requirements: Associate Degree
To be able to work as a pharmacy supervisor, you are obliged to obtain a bachelor’s degree as well as have some good experience.
In some cases, you even may be obliged to complete a doctorate in pharmacy training.
These specialists are responsible for managing technicians, pharmacists, and other pharmacy staff.
The list of their responsibilities includes such points as schedule settings, worker’s training, pharmacy compliance, and so on.
Average Annual Salary: $113,687
Training Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree
Pharmacy Technician Salaries in Various Facilities
- State, local, and private hospitals – $36,710
- General merchandise stores – $31,320
- Food and beverage stores – $29,860
- Pharmacies and drug stores – $29,500
Programmatic Accreditation for Pharmacy Technician Programs
School accreditation is an important aspect as it means that it meets all standards set by the larger educational community.
Speaking of programmatic accreditation, it means that a specific training program meets industry standards.
Enrolling in a programmatically-accredited pharmacy technician program, you can be sure that you’ll get all the required skills and knowledge to be a qualified specialist.
The Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC) is responsible for the accreditation of educational facilities and training programs for pharmacy technicians.
The PTAC was founded and regulated by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
Both of these organizations set standards for pharmacy technician program accreditation.
If the program, you are interested in isn’t accredited by PTAC, your education may not be enough to prepare you for your future job.
Pharmacy Technician Program Admissions
The process of applying for training depends on the school or college.
Usually, when it comes to an associate degree application, you need to meet more requirements as it is more challenging and requires more time.
Also, it is harder to apply for on-campus training than for an online program.
You need to make sure that you meet all the school’s eligibility criteria if you want to apply for a specific training program.
In any case, you need to have a high school diploma or GED.
Also, you may be obliged to complete an entrance exam to prove your competence.
Moreover, most schools require high-school or college transcript submission.
It is better to apply for multiple programs as it can provide you with more chances of being accepted.
- Application is one of the main requirements for your training admission. Applying for a diploma or certificate program, you need to complete a short application but when it comes to an associate degree, your application may be much longer.
- Transcripts from a high school or college are one other requirement for those who want to apply for a training program. Applying for a diploma or certificate degree, you need to provide a copy of your high-school diploma or GED in most cases. If you need to provide a transcript, you should contact the office of the registrar and pay some fee.
- Application Fee may be required in some cases but its amount depends on the program. Usually, it is about $45 but if you have some financial hardships you can apply for a reduction or a fee waiver.
Pharmacy Technician Classes
Depending on your program of choice, your classes may differ significantly.
Nevertheless, all programs will provide you with knowledge of drug terminologies, drug classifications, and how medications affect the body.
Also, most training programs – it is a mixture of theoretical lectures and hands-on training.
Usually, a curriculum includes various specific disciplines and some of them can be found below.
During these classes, students learn how to calculate ingredients properly so they can prepare various medication orders.
It contains such aspects as the metric, apothecary, and avoirdupois systems as well as percentage preparations, dosage determinations, and aliquots.
During these classes, you are going to learn about blood modifiers, diuretics, and gastrointestinal agents.
Also, you’ll be able to learn how to categorize drugs properly and identify side effects, indications, as well as generic names.
It is a perfect opportunity to get some experience under a pharmacist’s supervision while completing some credits.
During this course, you’ll be able to learn how to communicate with teammates as well as prepare patient charges, and dispense medications.
Moreover, you’ll learn how to use a computer for various pharmacy issues.
This class will let you learn about hospital pharmacy operations’ issues, pharmacy technicians’ roles, drug delivery systems, hospital organizational structure, and inventory control.
Also, you’ll learn about the process of patients’ orders input, intravenous admixture preparations, and unit-dose cassette filling.
Pharmaceutical Dosage Forms
The course provides info on such issues as pharmaceutical dosage forms, including tablets, suspensions, solutions, transdermals, capsules, ophthalmics, elixirs, and other dosage types.
Also, there is info about major dosage forms, delivery methods, and their effect on drugs’ work.
Professional Organizations in Pharmacy Technician
If you decide to join a professional organization for pharmacy technicians, you’ll be able to get a bunch of amazing opportunities.
Being a member of a professionally devoted group, you can show your potential employers and colleagues that you take your career seriously.
Also, it can provide you with some great benefits such as extra education classes, networking opportunities events, publications, and career resources.
Moreover, some groups may provide you with various discounts on membership fees.
American Association of Pharmacy Technicians
The American Association of Pharmacy Technicians – is a volunteer-run organization that was founded in 1979.
It is a great opportunity to get some extra training and various networking opportunities for members.
Also, it is a great opportunity to get some scholarship if you are getting your training.
National Pharmacy Technician Association
The National Pharmacy Technician Association is the largest professional organization for pharmacy technicians.
It was started to advocate the role and importance of these specialists in the medical sphere and pharmaceutical care.
This organization presents the interests of pharmacy technicians in various settings.
Also, it offers online training, professional magazine subscriptions, certificate programs, and extra training.
American Pharmacists Association
The American Pharmacists Association offers membership for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and student pharmacists.
By becoming a member of this organization, you can get access to various publications, continuing education, advocacy tools, and a career center.