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Pharmacy Technology Programs

Pharmacy Technology Programs

What are Pharmacy Techs?

Pharmacy techs assist pharmacists in retail pharmacies, hospitals and other medical facilities that prescribe medicines. They count pills, measure liquid medications, use recipes to compound medicines, create labels, process payments and interact with customers or patients according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information, see our pharmacy technician career page.

Pharmacy Technology Program Information

Pharmacy technology programs are available through community colleges, online schools, universities, and vocational schools -- and may provide various options for individuals looking to advance their education and careers. Online programs allow students to work from home, on their own schedules. Campus-based programs are also available, and are a good choice for individuals who prefer a more traditional learning style. Hybrid programs combine online coursework with hands-on training. Programs sometimes include internships at local pharmacies. The time required to complete pharmacy technology schools varies by student and program, but typically ranges between five months and two years.

Pharmacy Technology Program Types

  • Diploma/Certificate: Pharmacy technology diploma/certificate programs can be completed typically in as little as five months, although may take a year to complete. This route may be beneficial to individuals who want to begin their new career as quickly as possible.
  • Associate Degree: A select number of colleges award pharmacy technology associate degrees. These programs usually take two years to complete, combining pharmacy tech coursework with general education classes. An associate program can be a good choice for individuals who want to earn a bachelor's degree, since associate degrees earned from accredited schools may transfer to some four-year degree programs.

Pharmacy tech programs may help students pursue professional certification after graduation, including gaining the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) designation.

Pharmacy Technology Course Descriptions

Although individual pharmacy technology courses can vary by school, most programs share a common core curriculum. The following represent courses typically found in pharmacy technology programs:

  • Medical Terminology: Medical terminology is the language of healthcare and pharmacy techs on the job are expected to know it. Students learn the basic medical vocabulary for all the human body systems, with a focus on prefixes and suffixes, abbreviations, basic diseases and surgical terms.
  • Dose and Medication Preparation: Students learn about medication charts, pharmacy math, maintaining sterile environments and how to fill orders correctly, regarding drug, dosage and frequency. Preparing dosages and medications is central to pharmacy tech jobs.
  • Computer Applications: In this course, students learn to use pharmacy software and insurance billing programs, including automated ordering, inventory, payment methods, common insurance rejection codes and entering patient prescriptions and profiles.
  • Pharmacy Law and Ethics: Students will likely learn legal and ethical matters related to pharmacies, including confidentiality and patient privacy. Without an understanding of medical law and ethics, pharmacy techs could cause harm to patients and leave themselves and their employers liable.

Related Career Options

Individuals interested in pharmacy technology programs may want to consider pursuing alternative healthcare paths, such as the following careers:

  • Health Information Technicians: Manage health information data by using classification systems. Assure records are accurate and accessible. Most medical records professionals have professional certification as well as a post-secondary certificate or associate degree.
  • Medical Assistants: Schedule appointments, measure patients' vital signs and provide other clinical and administrative tasks for physicians, chiropractors and other medical practitioners. Many medical assistants are trained on the job, but some have completed certificate or associate programs.
  • Dental Assistants: Assist dental hygienists in providing patient care, maintain records and perform other clerical duties. In some states, dental assistants must complete an accredited one-year certificate or diploma program. In other states, they train on the job.

Links to Sources and Associations

The following websites offer more information about careers in pharmacy technology:

American Association of Pharmacy Technicians, http://www.pharmacytechnician.com/

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, http://www.ashp.org/

Pharmacy Technicians, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm

National Healthcareer Association, http://www.nhanow.com/home.aspx

National Pharmacy Technician Association, http://www.pharmacytechnician.org/

Pharmacy Technician Certification Board, http://www.ptcb.org/

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Pharmacy Technician (10-month diploma program)
  • Has specialized in career training since 1982.
  • Offers beginning to advanced training in computer repair, medical assisting, cosmetology, nursing, and more.
  • Continually maintains programs according to industry needs by working closely with industry experts and employers.
  • Provides well-equipped training facilities to give students the advantage of hands-on training.
  • Its instructors attend seminars and workshops to keep current with new technology and topics.
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  • Accredited
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AS in Pharmacy Technician
  • Dallas campus named 2013 School of the Year by the National Association for Health Professionals (NAHP).
  • Tuition covers course-required materials for campus students, including books, lab equipment, and class supplies.
  • Offers flat tuition rate to continuously enrolled students who are on track toward program completion.
  • Campus accreditation by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
  • 18 campuses across the United States, with online options as well.
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  • Accredited
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Pharmacy Technician
  • Offers programs in some of the fastest growing fields in the healthcare industry
  • 10 unique programs including Nursing, Pharmacy Technician, & Medical Assistant
  • ABHES accredited with 39 campus locations throughout MI, OH, IN, WV, IA, KY, AL & TN
  • Ross offers day & evening schedules for managing family, work & other obligations
  • Financial aid is available for qualified students in the form of loans &  grants
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Diploma - Pharmacy Technician
  • Committed to empowering students with education and skills to help them reach their goals since 1979.
  • Online programs include business management, RN to BSN, and more.
  • Technical assistance for students is available 24/7.
  • Institutional accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
  • Ground campuses are also available across Arizona and New Mexico. 
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Pharmacy Technician
  • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1968.
  • Founded in 1954, it has been providing corporate training solutions in the private sector for 60 years.
  • Offers programs in HVAC training, Computer Technology, Medical Assisting, and more.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and the Kansas State Board of Regents (KBOR).
  • Main campus is located in Wichita, Kansas, with 4 additional branch campuses.
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Pharmacy Technician Certificate
Rasmussen College , Romeoville

Further your education at Rasmussen College.Choose from seven schools of study including programs in business, nursing, technology, and more.

Pharmacy Technician (11-Month Diploma Program)
UEI College , Fresno
  • Dedicated to providing  career training since 1975.
  • Has 13 campus locations in Southern California and a campus in Morrow, GA.
  • Provides flexible class times including weekends.
  • Offers curriculum that ranges from 8 month diploma programs to 16-month Associate of Applied Science degree programs.
  • Has admissions professionals available to help students decide which diploma or degree program they should pursue.
  • Gives job placement assistance strengthened by relationships with local employers.
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