Individuals wishing to complete formal pharmacy technician training can find fully online programs, which typically result in associate degrees, certificates or diplomas. After completing a pharmacy technician program, students can take national certification exams.
Pharmacy Technician Program
In an online pharmacy technician program, students study the effects of various substances on the major functional systems of the human body. They explore concepts in assisting with pharmacists and reviewing medication orders.
Programs also investigate the legal and administrative issues crucial to the profession. Assignments, discussions and exams are completed using online learning systems, such as Blackboard. Students generally watch lectures and complete coursework at their own pace; however, assignments and examinations may have specified timelines.
Two organizations offer exams leading to the certified pharmacy technician (CPhT) credential; the National Healthcareer Association and the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. Once initially certified, pharmacy technicians must maintain the credential through continuing education every two years. In addition, both organizations offer publications, online practice tests and online training courses to help students to prepare for the certification exam. However, certification exams must be completed in person at a testing center.
Entry routes and minimum requirements to work as a pharmacy technician vary immensely depending on location and employer. Some pharmacy technicians may be trained on the job, while others must seek formal education and certification. Yet, according to the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), most pharmacy technicians are trained on the job.
State boards of pharmacy have differing requirements for pharmacy technicians in terms of education and program, continuing education, on-the-job training and certification. For example, according to state requirements outlined by the National Healthcareer Association, the state of California requires aspiring pharmacy technicians to complete training and earn licensure, but the state of Michigan does not. Furthermore, neither state requires certification.
In online pharmacy technician programs, students are introduced to the scientific and administrative aspects of the industry. They may seek professional certifications when they finish.