How Long Is a Pharmacy Technician Certification Program?

As a pharmacy technician, you will assist pharmacists in dispensing medications, helping people who are sick get well again. Read on to find out about pharmacy technician programs that prepare you for certification. Schools offering Pharmacy Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Length of a Certification Prep Program for Pharmacy Technicians

If you'd like to prepare for the Certified Pharmacy Technician exam, you could enroll in a certificate program offered by a community college, college or university continuing education program, or a vocational school. You could also choose to enroll in an Associate of Applied Science in Pharmacy Technician or Associate of Science in Pharmacy Technology program.

Pharmacy technician certificate programs typically include 600 hours of instruction and 200 hours of externship over a 10-month period. Associate's degree programs generally take two years to complete.

In addition to core classes that cover the basic skills and knowledge required of pharmacy technicians, you'll also take general education classes, like math and composition. You might also be able to enroll in a self-paced distance-learning program at some schools.

Important Facts About Pharmacy Technician Certification Program

Online AvailabilityPartial, due to externship requirements
Key SkillsDetail-oriented, organizational, listening, customer service, and math skills
Potential ExternshipsHospital pharmacies, community pharmacies, drug stores, pharmacy departments within grocery and discount stores, long-term care facilities, home healthcare agencies, and in mail-order prescription pharmacies.
Work EnvironmentAcademia, ambulatory care center, department store, pharmaceutical industry, physician offices, electronic shopping

Educational Prerequisites and Program Coursework

The typical minimum admissions requirement of a pharmacy technician program at the certificate or associate's degree level is a high school diploma or equivalent. Programs involve classroom instruction as well as laboratory studies. Additionally, most programs require you to complete some clinical rotations or externship work in a pharmacy. Some course topics include:

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacy math
  • Pharmacy laboratory skills
  • Fundamentals of chemistry

Overview of Certification

Obtaining certification as a pharmacy technician is required in some states, but not all. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board as well as the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians, now part of National Healthcareer Association, offer certification exams. After obtaining certification, you'll often need to get re-certified every 2 years by completing continuing education coursework.

Even if your state doesn't require certification, You should check with your state's board of pharmacy for specific employment requirements. Many states have certain regulations for all pharmacy technicians.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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