What To Look For In A Pharmacy Technician School?

When looking for a career with a bright future and one that should not be affected by the overall economy, enrolling in a pharmacy technician school is a great route to pursue. This is one field that is actually growing and can offer a respectable salary for years to come. Because of the different aspects of the profession, the sky is the limit in regards to what the future holds.

Duties & Responsibilities

A pharmacy technician works under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. Part of their job is to prepare medication for patients, mix medications and other tasks. They can work at a local pharmacy store, pharmaceutical wholesaler, mail order pharmacy, a health clinic, a hospital or with the federal government. In terms of salary, a pharmacy technician receives competitive earnings during the year. But their hourly rate will depend on where they are employed, their certification status, specialization and years of experience. The tasks will also vary depending on the company a pharmacy tech is working for. They can do computer data entry jobs and other adhoc administrative jobs or they can take up roles such as preparing medications and labelling bottles.

Training

Pharmacy technicians are acknowledged when they hold a certificate. If you want to be a certified technician, you have to pass the national pharmacy technician training. When looking at some of the top pharmacy tech schools across the country, you may notice that they offer both one and two-year programs. Your future employer will probably dictate the exact program you will look to enroll in. Some places only require some type of certification, while others demand that a technician have an associate degree at the very least.

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Pharmacy Technician Schools Across North America

Because employers favor individuals with formal training and/or certification, you should come prepared. Your experience and certified education are two things that you should have in order to maximize your salary.  Another possible route you can take if you're already in a part-time job is to complete an accredited online pharmacy technician program as these allow you to complete training at your own pace.

Most states require their pharmacy technicians to be registered with the State Board of Pharmacy in order to obtain their license. Some states on the other hand, only require their applicants to obtain a high school diploma or its equivalent, however this is also changing.  To find out what your state requires of you to work as a technician check out our Pharmacy Technician State Requirements resource page. 

Although there is no available national training standard for pharmacy technicians, employers still prefer to hire individuals with formal training and certification. When looking for the best pharmacy technician schools, you need to consider the following:

Accreditation

Schools that offer pharmacy technician programs need to be state approved and recognized by either the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) or Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).

Both these websites provide a pharmacy technician program directory with a list of community colleges, technical colleges and universities that deliver accredited pharmacy technician programs. Your State Board of Pharmacy will specify what programs are accepted for registration purposes.

Formal pharmacy technician education programs are available through junior colleges, hospitals, vocational schools or community colleges. These programs can be completed from between 6 months to 2 years. They include classroom training, lab work training and an externship.

Classes

Many of the pharmacy technician schools offer almost the same curriculum. The classes offered should cover subjects in:

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug preparation
  • Anatomy
  • Pharmacy calculations
  • Pharmacy computing
  • Physiology
  • Pharmaceutical techniques
  • Pharmacy laws and ethics

Pharmacy technician programs aim to teach individuals the names, uses, actions, doses of prescription medication including how to handle patients.  Ensure also that an externship is also offered as part of the program.

Training Costs

In addition to the two factors mentioned above, it is also crucial to consider the overall cost of attending pharmacy technician training school. The cost varies from one institution to another. Therefore, it is ideal to consider both private and public institutions when looking for the right pharmacy education program for you.

Depending on the kind of pharmacy technician education program you have chosen, you will receive a certificate (most common), a diploma or an associate's degree (most comprehensive).

Career advancement

Pharmacy technicians can be promoted to supervisory positions if they have the right training and experience. They may also advance to specialty positions like chemotherapy pharmacy technician positions or nuclear pharmacy technician. Finally many pharmacists started out as pharmacy technicians, ensuring you attend an approved pharmacy technician program will carry weight if you wish to continue your education!

Search Pharmacy Technician Programs

Get information on Pharmacy Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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