Overview of Available Online Pharmacy Technician Degrees
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 Associate Degree in Pharmacy Technology
An online associate degree in pharmacy technology will prepare graduates for work as pharmacy technicians under the supervision of board-certified pharmacists in environments like hospitals or retail pharmacy. Pharmacy technology graduates can also find work in long term nursing care facilities, educational institutions, and state agencies.
Typically, the program takes two years to complete, requires approximately 95 credit hours, and includes courses in physiology, anatomy, pharmacology, HIPAA, pharmacy law, pharmacy technology, and pharmacy records management, among several others. To enroll in an associate pharmacy technology program, students must have a high school diploma or GED. Some programs also require completion of freshman math and English classes prior to enrollment in the degree program.
Online Pharmacy Technician Certificate Programs
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.