Online Pharmacy Technician School
Pharmacy technicians work closely with pharmacists in health and professional care environments. Pharmacists often train and supervise pharmacy technicians in their work, which typically includes compounding, measuring, and dispensing medication. Many pharmacists rely on pharmacy technicians for administrative work such as inventory management, filing insurance claims, and record-keeping.
Well-developed pharmacy technician programs include classroom instruction and hands-on laboratory training. To succeed in their role, pharmacy technicians need keen mathematical acumen and attentiveness to detail.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), pharmacy technicians' industry and state greatly impact their salary and career prospects. Although pharmacy technicians earn a lower-than-average annual median salary ($33,950 compared to $39,810), the top 10% of professionals in this sector earn significantly higher annual median salaries ($49,130).
Career and Salary Outlook for Pharmacy Technicians
The healthcare field is a robust professional sector. The BLS projects jobs for healthcare professionals to grow 15% between 2019-2029, which equals about 2.4 million new jobs. Although the BLS projects a slower growth rate of 4% for pharmacy technician jobs, practitioners can find ample professional opportunities in several industries and states.
Most pharmacy technicians work at health and professional care stores, although practitioners who work for federal executive branches earn the highest mean annual salaries of $44,920. Outpatient care centers and colleges and professional schools pay the second and third highest salaries in the industry ($44,670 and $43,580, respectively).
The states with the most pharmacy technicians include Texas, California, and Florida. California pays the highest pharmacy technician salaries ($45,200), followed by Alaska ($44,280) and Washington ($43,910).
|Bottom 10%||Median Annual Salary||Top 10%|
|Less than $24,120||$33,950||More than $49,130|
Best Pharmacy Technician Programs
Online pharmacy programs often run asynchronously, giving enrollees the flexibility to continue their jobs. Learners who enroll in online programs also save money by not incurring room-and-board or commuting expenses.
The ranking below highlights some of the most affordable pharmacy technician programs online. Prospective students can also learn about graduation rates and scholarship opportunities.
These rankings include
#1 Best Online Pharmacy Technician Programs
State Fair Community College
- 2 years
- Online + Campus
For students seeking a flexible online certificate, State Fair Community College is a wise choice. The public, Sedalia-based college supports 2,726 distance learners across 12 online certificate programs. Students interested in the pharmacy field will benefit from the flexibility of the online pharmacy technician certificate program.
Students in the pharmacy program benefit from industry-relevant coursework, gaining foundational skills and advanced knowledge. Enrollees can explore experiential learning opportunities, such as research projects and internships, to supplement their learning experience. In consultation with their academic advisor, students can modify their coursework and choose electives and concentrations. The program's online modality enables flexible study, so students can pursue full-time or part-time enrollment with ease.
Based on their eligibility, students can access scholarships, fellowships, and other financial aid awards through the school. At the college, 91% of enrollees are awarded financial aid packages.
#2 Best Online Pharmacy Technician Programs
North Dakota State College of Science
- 2 years
- Online + Campus
North Dakota State College of Science, a public institution in Wahpeton, connects distance learners with a robust online education. The public college supports 836 distance learners across two online certificate programs. For individuals interested in advancing in the pharmacy field, the pharmacy technician certificate is an attractive choice.
Pharmacy students gain knowledge and skills through lectures and coursework, preparing them for the demands of a pharmacy career. Students also have the option to pursue experiential learning opportunities, such as internships and research projects. Enrollees can work with their academic advisor to customize their studies. Learners have the option to pursue full-time or part-time study.
To offset the cost of education, enrollees can apply for internal and external funding opportunities, such as scholarships and federal financial aid. Out of all its students, the college reports that 89% receive some form of financial aid.
#3 Best Online Pharmacy Technician Programs
Barton County Community College
Great Bend, KS
- 2 years
- Online + Campus
Students looking to expand their knowledge and skills in pharmacy should consider Barton County Community College's online pharmacy technician certificate program. Students can choose from 13 online certificate programs, and remote enrollees join an online learning community of 2,303 distance learners.
Pharmacy students complete industry-relevant coursework that prepares them for the demands of the pharmacy field. Along with their studies, enrollees can pursue internships and other experiential learning opportunities. Students can consult with their academic advisor to modify their course load to suit their career goals. Depending on their needs, students can pursue full-time or part-time study.
To offset educational expenses, students can apply for scholarships, fellowships, and other funding opportunities. Out of all enrollees, 96% are awarded financial aid.
Accreditation for Pharmacy Technology Programs
Accreditation is a voluntary evaluation process that schools complete to show their commitment to providing quality educational programs. Accrediting agencies assess a postsecondary institution's offerings according to accepted and established standards of rigor and quality. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) oversees the process, although it does not directly grant accreditation.
Nonprofit degree-oriented colleges and universities seek regional accreditation, while for-profit vocational schools seek national accreditation. Although regional accreditors use stricter evaluation standards, the ED recognizes both accreditation types. The ED does not disburse federal assistance funds to non-accredited institutions.
Accrediting organizations can also provide programmatic accreditation to specific programs. The Pharmacy Technician Education Accreditation Commission is the main accrediting body for pharmacy technician education and training programs.
Pharmacy Technician Certification
Practice requirements for pharmacy technicians vary between states. According to data from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, 24 states require pharmacy technicians to hold licensure or national certification before they can practice. Another 21 states require licensure or registration only (no national certification), and five states (Delaware, Hawaii, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia do not post any requirements for pharmacy technicians.
Many states recognize the certified pharmacy technician credential issued by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). To qualify for certification, applicants must graduate from a pharmacy technician program recognized by the organization and pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam. PTCB accepts applicants with at least 500 hours of professional experience as a pharmacy technician in lieu of an associate degree or certificate/diploma.
Courses in a Pharmacy Technology Program
An associate degree in pharmacy technology typically comprises 60-64 credits and takes two years to complete. Diploma programs and the best pharmacy technician certificate online programs require fewer credits and usually take one year to complete. Other factors, such as learners' enrollment status and the program's delivery format, can impact program length.
Pharmacy technology coursework covers topics such as pharmacy mathematics, drug dosages, and compounding. Many programs also include classes in management, industry regulations, and the insurance process. See below for five common courses in both on-campus and online pharmacy technician programs.
Students learn the fundamental concepts of pharmacology, including generic and trade names of common medications, dosage formulations, and pharmacokinetic processes that impact a body's reaction to various drugs. The course teaches enrollees about contraindications and adverse effects of different medications. Learners also study safe and proper drug administration procedures.
This course provides hands-on training in non-sterile pharmaceutical preparations, cleaning and maintenance of compounding equipment, and accurate documentation. Students familiarize themselves with quality assurance principles and the most current pharmacy technology software to help them customize medications and keep accurate patient and dosage records.
Enrollees examine factors that often contribute to errors in the pharmaceutical field, including the environment, the organization, and the individual. This course aims to help learners improve patient outcomes by focusing on the cause and prevention of medication and dispensing oversight. Students learn various strategies to minimize the incidence of errors in community and hospital settings.
Safe Medication Practices
This course provides a professional, legal, and ethical framework for pharmacy technicians. Students learn about various state and federal regulations impacting pharmacy practice and the implications of the same on their duties and responsibilities as pharmacy technicians. The course familiarizes enrollees with standards of practice and current procedural regulations in the field.
Standards of Practice and Legislation for Pharmacy Technicians
This course focuses on common business practices in community pharmacy. Coursework covers topics such as efficient inventory control and management, billing and reconciling third-party insurance claims, purchasing procedures, and customer service. Learners study pharmaceutical business terminology and examine local and state regulations relevant to the field.
Frequently Asked Questions about Pharmacy Tech Programs
How long does it take to complete a pharmacy technology program?
A 60-credit associate in applied science degree typically takes two years to complete. Learners can complete diploma or certificate programs, which require fewer credits, sooner.
Do I need a license to be a pharmacy technician?
Except for five states and the District of Columbia, all states require pharmacy technicians to either be licensed or hold a recognized certificate in the field before they can practice.
Where do pharmacy technicians work?
Most pharmacy technicians work in retail pharmacies. Hospitals, nursing homes, and mental health facilities also hire pharmacy technicians.
What is the difference between a pharmacist and a pharmacy tech?
Pharmacists typically complete four years of professional coursework in addition to a minimum of two years of undergraduate study. Pharmacy technicians usually only complete two years of postsecondary study.
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