Online Associate's Degree in Pharmacy Assistant Technologies
Find the types of schools that offer online associate's degrees in pharmacy assisting technology. Learn about state registration and professional certification for pharmacy technicians.
What Can I Learn in an Online Pharmacy Technology Associate's Degree Program?
Online pharmacy technology associate's degree programs are generally offered by for-profit schools, although some public 2-year colleges also offer online programs. These programs may also be available as health sciences degrees with pharmacy technician concentrations.
Over the course of a program, you can train to prepare medications under the direction and supervision of licensed pharmacists. Course topics may teach you to transcribe doctors' orders, fill and label prescriptions, package medications, calculate dosages and update inventories. You may also learn to maintain patient records and provide customer service. Some programs also include a practicum. Once you graduate, potential employers include retail and mail-order pharmacies, assisted-living centers and hospitals.
|Common Courses||Prescription packaging and labeling, basic dosage science and office operations|
|Offline Requirements||Hands-on experience will usually be required to fulfill the practicum component|
|Professional Requirements||Certification/licensure may be required; available from the Institute for Certification of Pharmacy Technicians and the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board|
|Median Salary (2018)||$32,700 (for all pharmacy technicians)*|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||12% growth (for all pharmacy technicians)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
How Do Online Programs Work?
Many online pharmacy technology programs allow students to complete all of their coursework from home. However, if your program has a practicum component, you'll need to complete these requirements in a long-term care, hospital or retail pharmacy. Some schools offer online practicums, but these are rare. Other programs require students to attend a handful of on-campus lab sessions during weekends.
Do I Need Certification or Licensure?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most state pharmacy boards require pharmacy technicians to be registered (www.bls.gov). In some states, this entails possessing a high school diploma and passing a criminal background check. Other states require you to complete a state-approved training program that includes a work experience component. You may also need to pass a written examination.
Another way to meet some states' registration requirements is to become certified through a nationally recognized professional organization, such as the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians and the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. Both organizations award credentials to applicants who pass written examinations.