Guide to Online Pharmacy Technician Schools
Graduates of an online pharmacy technician certification program will be ready to assist pharmacists by interacting with and advising patients, filling prescriptions, compounding medications and ointments, and maintaining pharmacy records. Typical work settings include hospitals, retail pharmacies, long term nursing facilities, or educational institutions. Professionals in this career must have good interpersonal communication skills.
People contemplating the pharmacy technician career field should make certain the school they plan to attend is fully accredited through the American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists (ASHP). This will ensure that the obtained certificate or degree meets nationally-recognized standards.
Most Popular Accredited Online Schools for Pharmacy Technician Certificate Degrees
Online Pharmacy Technician Degree Overview & Career Information
Although no federal regulation currently requires pharmacy technicians to obtain certification, many individual states do require completion of both a technical training or associate degree program as well as certification. Some states, like California, require a license from the state as well. Pharmacy technician certification is available through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board, or PTCB upon passing an examination. The resulting certification is as a Certified Pharmacy Technician, or CPhT. The examination for certification can be taken after receiving on-the-job training.
Pharmacy technicians generally obtain a certificate or associate degree. Certificate programs typically last between three and ten months and require approximately 30 credit hours for completion. Associate degrees in pharmacy technology are generally obtained from community colleges and require two years of intensive coursework. Depending on your state, graduates of either program can then take the certification exam through the PTCB.
Online Certificates in Pharmacy Technician
A pharmacy technician certificate program prepares graduates for work in pharmacies under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. Typical programs require a minimum of 30 credit hours and take anywhere from three to 10 months.
Coursework includes classes in ethical and legal considerations in pharmacies, pharmacology, inventory practices, pharmacy records, anatomy, and insurance procedures. Programs require applicants to have a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent for enrollment. Students wishing to obtain education at this level can find programs at either vocational schools or community colleges. Graduates can obtain certification through the ASHP by taking an exam.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Pharmacy Technician Degree
Choosing an accredited program of study is extremely important when embarking in education in any field. Accreditation ensures that the chosen program meets national standards, and provides employers with the knowledge that a program's graduates have the needed training and education to be successful in the field. For pharmacy technician programs, the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP) works with the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) to accredit pharmacy certificate and associate degree programs.
Pharmacy Technician Certification and Licensing Requirements
There is no federally mandated regulatory board for pharmacy technologists and requirements vary widely by state. Although pharmacy technicians are not required to be certified or licensed in every state, some states do require both. California, for example, requires pharmacy technicians to complete a certificate program or associate degree, pass the certification exam, pass a background check, get fingerprinted, and then pay a fee to get licensed through the state in order to obtain a position in the field. Other states allow pharmacy technicians to obtain certification after some on-the-job training by simply taking the certification exam. However, as requirements increase for pharmacy technicians, there is a push toward requiring a certificate or degree in all states, so accredited pharmacy technician programs are being more strongly encouraged for those pursuing a career.