What Classes Do I Take To Become a Pharmacy Technician?
So you want to be a pharmacy technician. Where should you begin? In the past, people were able to simply train under a pharmacist on location for a few months, and then begin a career as a technician. Things are different now. In most states, you will need to earn your certification in order to work and taking a pharmacy technician class is part of it.
There are all kinds of programs that you can complete to help you prepare for the certification exam. Universities and community colleges both offer training for pharmacy technicians. There are plenty of options, too, like online courses, externships and accelerated courses. If you start one of these programs, here’s what classes you will study.
Math & Computers
Working as a pharmacy technicians requires a basic understanding of math and computers. In fact, many programs require potential students to be competent in introductory algebra before applying. Math skills that will be applied directly during day to day work as a pharmacy tech include the calculation of percentages and ratios. These are important for knowing how to do dosage calculations correctly. Most programs have at least one required computer course. This will teach you how to do things like use word processors to create files, and increase your typing speed. It may also cover things such as how to use Microsoft Excel, and other software that you might need to know on the job.
Students should expect the majority of their courses to focus on introducing them to the field of pharmacology. These courses will focus on things like medical terminology, anatomy/physiology, and prescription interpretation. After completing these courses, you should have a good understand of what pharmacists do. The courses that most students find to be difficult are the ones that deal with the nitty-gritty of pharmacology. This involves the memorization of many different medications, along with their possible side effects and contraindications. It’s important for pharmacy technicians to know the different categories of drugs, and how they work, to insure the safety of customers.
Finally, some programs will include a course or two on medical ethics and pharmacy law. This is to introduce students to the laws that will govern their work, along with the ethical expectations that they will have to meet when they begin working as pharmacy technicians.
After taking all of these courses on math, technology, and pharmacology, students are usually required to complete an externship. That means that for a few months, they will be training under a pharmacist or certified pharmacy technician in an actual pharmacy. After that is completed, then students can graduate from the program, take the examination, and find a job. The whole process of taking classes and becoming certified usually take a full calendar year.