Training for Pharmacy Technicians

Training for pharmacy technicians can be accomplished through on-the-job programs approved by certification boards or by attending an institution of higher learning such as a trade school or two-year community college. Receiving military training is also another option. Regardless of the route that you choose, training is important because it is necessary for passing certification exams and getting licensed when required.

Typical Pharmacy Technician Curriculum

There are a couple of options for pharmacy technician training in an approved school. One type of program leads to a certificate and will last anywhere from 2 to 6 months. The other is a two-year associate’s degree program. A typical pharmacy technician curriculum might include subjects such as:

Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer

  • Pharmacy technician fundamentals
  • Pharmacology
  • Medical terminology
  • Outpatient/inpatient/home pharmacy preparation
  • Physiology and Anatomy
  • Laws pertaining to pharmacy operations and drugs
  • Communications
  • Pharmacy calculations
  • Compounding
  • Computer basics

The fundamentals course is a basic introduction to the many concepts that are part of the technology. Students learn about pharmacy laws and ethics, dosage formulation, compounding, sterile products, and pharmacy operations at an introductory level.

Pharmacology courses teach technicians how medications they will handle interact with the human body. They also receive instruction on the uses, adverse effects, and interactions of these medications.

Medical terminology is important for any healthcare-related field. It teaches the language that medical professionals use every day.

The pharmacy preparation courses teach students the procedures for a variety of the daily duties a technician must perform in an outpatient, hospital, or home healthcare setting. These include drug labeling, drug packaging, inventory control, and controlled substance handling.

Drugs interact with the body so it is important for a technician to learn the fundamentals of physiology with regard to bodily systems and the anatomy that is part of them. These courses also teach students how the body absorbs, metabolizes, and eliminates medications.

Pharmacies are highly regulated by laws designed to control medications so that they are given only to the intended recipients and used as prescribed by a physician. Consequently, pharmacy technicians must be educated in these laws to be able to comply.

Communications courses are important because many of the daily responsibilities of technicians involve communicating both verbally and in writing. A technician must communicate with customers, pharmacists, and health insurance companies and must do so clearly so the right information will be interchanged.

Pharmacies are linked to computer networks for the purpose of getting health insurance eligibility information as well as data on drugs. Computers are also used to retrieve drug compatibility information, perform pharmacy management tasks, submit billing and claim data, make container labels, keep patient and prescription records, and perform point-of-sale tasks. Students will receive training on all aspects of using the computer in a typical pharmacy.

Special Pharmacy Technician Training

Some can start in the pharmacy technician field via the military training route. The benefits to this are that you don’t incur any education expense and get paid while you learn. The military specialty directly translates to a civilian job. The training takes anywhere from 3 to 4 months and more than likely your duty assignment out of school will be with a hospital unit.

There are also approved on-the-job training programs that are designed to lead to certification. For example, the State of Indiana has a Pharmacy Technician in Training Program where a technician is given a permit to work under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist and under the contingency of taking the certification exam in the near future.

Online Option for Pharmacy Technician Training

Receiving online training is a viable option for getting your education in this field. Many people have neither the time nor money to pay for a program at a traditional institution. Consider that many of them also are currently receiving on-the-job training by working in pharmacies already and the online courses just prepare them to take the certification exam.