Pharmacy technicians are in charge of helping licensed pharmacists fill prescriptions. Jobs may be found with health and personal care stores, hospitals, clinics, and retailers with pharmacies. In a pharmacy technician certificate program or associate degree students can expect to take courses in pharmacy and general medical terminology, pharmacology fundamentals, dosing and pharmaceutical calculations, customer service, and other business basics. While not mandatory in all states, some graduates may seek professional certification after completing an accredited program.
Types of Pharmacy Technician Certificates
Students researching this type of program will find a number of online pharmacy technician schools available. Health care programs in general are very popular offerings, due in large part to the growth expected in coming years for the industry. Common courses include pharmacology, medical terminology, pharmaceutical mathematics and measurements, health care law and ethics, customer relations, and basic business concepts. While each school may have their own admissions requirements, below are a few common criteria to consider when getting ready to apply:
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Transcript or GED test scores
- Application form and fee
Most vocational certificate programs can be completed in less than one year. Of course, the specific number of credits required, the number of courses taken at once, and any breaks taken from the program, will have an impact on time to completion. Online pharmacy technician courses will allow you to continue working full or part time while earning your education if you so choose. In addition, this flexible curriculum is ideal for busy parents or those with travel restrictions. Since most online colleges run in an asynchronous format, there are no scheduled course times. Any clinical practice requirements can either be arranged remotely or completed as on-the-job training.
What’s Next for Certificate Holders?
Students who complete an accredited certificate program in pharmacy technology may opt to earn professional certification through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the National Healthcareer Association. This is not mandatory in all states, but some employers prefer it. Depending on the employer, the may even pay for the cost of the exam. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job prospects are strong. In fact, the demand for pharmacy technicians is expected to increase by 32% from 2010 to 2020. This is more than twice the 14% growth anticipated for all occupations in this time period.
In 2012, pharmacy technicians reported a mean annual salary of $30,430. Jobs were found with health and personal care stores, general medical and surgical hospitals, and retail locations with pharmacies. Please note, these are only estimates. Actual starting pay and job availability can vary based on your location, level of experience, the general job market, and the specific type of employer.