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Pharmacy Tech Certification Online: Pharmacy Technician Training Schools, Pharmacy Technician Courses and Programs

Pharmacy technicians are responsible for helping licensed pharmacists fill prescriptions and tasks related to administration of medication to patients. Pharmacy technicians often work at a pharmacy where they handle prescriptions, working with pharmacy aides, and make sure patients receive the correct prescribed medication according to their profile. Other duties may include counting tablets, researching medication information, and labeling bottles.

Job Description and Responsibilities of Pharmacy Technicians and Pharmacy Techs

Both Certified and Non-Certified Pharmacy Technicians can be responsible for:

  • Working as an aide in a community pharmacy

  • Measuring dosages

  • Using computers to find patient information

  • Recordkeeping

  • Learning medication names, uses, doses, and applications

  • Verifying prescriptions for accuracy

  • Applying the correct labels to each prescription and maintaining files

Career Options for Pharmacy Technician after Pharmacy Technician School

  • Certified Pharmacy Technicians and Pharmacy Techs can choose to work in: 

  • Hospitals

  • Department store pharmacies

  • Drugstore chains

  • Grocery stores

  • Internet pharmacies

  • Pharmaceutical wholesalers

  • Retail and independently owned pharmacies

Pharmacy Technician Training

Pharmacy Technicians generally receive on-the-job training from working in a pharmacy or within the pharmaceutical industry. Most employers prefer pharmacy techs to have completed a formal program for adequate training, which may also include certification or obtaining an Associate's degree. Formal education provides professionalism and dedication in the field.

Most formal programs are comprised of both classroom and lab work, and may also include an internship period where students learn hands-on techniques and skills. Students may receive a diploma, a certificate, or an associate's degree. Each prospective Pharmacy Technician can take the National Pharmacy Certification Examination. While this is not required in most states, many employers prefer an individual who has passed the exam.

Pharmacy Technician Online and On-Campus Options

Pharmacy technician training programs are available through pharmacy colleges, pharmacy associations, or through a variety of online course training programs. Online courses offer flexibility, convenience, and ease of learning from home or at the office. Typical courses in the online pharmacy technician program include:

  • Medical Terminology

  • Anatomy

  • Physiology

  • Poison and Drug Emergency

  • Pharmaceutical Calculations

  • Prescription Information and Labeling Procedures

The National Pharmacy Technician Association (NPTA) provides technician certification programs throughout the United States. Certificate programs are available in Sterile Products, Diabetes Care, and Compounding.

Pharmacy Technician Certification

A certified pharmacy technician must be recertified every two years, and complete at least 20 contact hours each year. Contact hours can be accumulated by attending lectures, completing college coursework, or from specialized on-the-job training. Many employers provide reimbursement for the costs of the exam as an incentive for the individual to remain certified.

The National Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination is administered by The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. Prospective pharmacy technicians must have a high school diploma or GED to earn the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) title; they also cannot have any felony convictions on their record. Twenty hours of continuing education every two years are required after certification status has been reached, and at least one of these hours must be in the field of pharmacy law.

Pharmacy Technician Potential and Employment Prospects

Pharmacy Technicians are in high demand, even more so for those that have completed formal training or received certification. Employment of pharmacy technicians in this field is expected to grow considerably over the next ten years, as the demands for healthcare needs in the middle-aged and elderly generations increases.

Pharmacy technicians made an average of $11.37 per hour in 2004, with the highest paid pharmacy techs at general medical and surgical hospitals. Certified technicians earned considerably more. Related occupations include:

  • Medical transcriptionists

  • Physical therapist assistants and aides

  • Medical records and health information technicians

  • Pharmacy aides

  • Dental assistants

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