Get the answer to the question, “How much schooling do you need to be a pharmacy technician?” Find out what education and training is necessary to enter this growing profession.
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The Basics of a Pharmacy Tech Career
A pharmacy technician career is a great way to enter the medical field without the need for a lengthy and expensive education. Most pharmacy technician programs can be completed in less than a year and will prepare you for a variety of entry-level positions in the healthcare industry.
What is a pharmacy tech?
A pharmacy technician is a member of the healthcare team who works closely with pharmacists to dispense medications. They may also be involved in other tasks such as customer service, answering phones, and stocking shelves.
In order to become a pharmacy technician, you will need to complete a Pharmacy Technician Training Program. These programs are typically offered at community colleges and technical schools. Some employers may also provide on-the-job training. After completing a training program, you will need to pass a national certification exam in order to become registered and practice in your state.
What are the duties of a pharmacy tech?
Most pharmacy tech programs will cover the following topics:
-Common medical terms used in a pharmacy
-Anatomy and physiology
-Introduction to pharmacology
-Dosage forms of medication
-How to measure medication
-The top 200 drugs ( Brand and Generic )
-IV flow rates
Under the direction of a licensed pharmacist, techs are responsible for many tasks, including:
-Answering customers’ questions about their medications
-Preparing insurance claim forms
-Contacting doctors’ offices for prescription refill authorization
pharmacy technicians also often work with third party insurance providers to ensure that reimbursement claims are processed in a timely manner.
What are the education requirements for a pharmacy tech?
While a high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement for pharmacy technicians, many employers prefer to hire those with some postsecondary education, and some states have enacted legislation that requires pharmacy techs to complete a formal training program and/or earn a professional certification.
Formal training programs for pharmacy technicians typically last 6 to 12 months and result in a certificate or diploma upon completion. These programs are generally offered by community colleges, vocational schools, and private career colleges. Some hospitals also offer formal training programs for pharmacy techs.
Depending on the state in which they work, pharmacy technicians may be required to complete a professional certification program and pass a national or state-specific exam in order to become licensed. Some states have reciprocity agreements with other states that allow pharmacy technicians who are certified in one state to work in another state without having to complete an additional certification program.
How Much School Do You Need to Be a Pharmacy Tech?
The minimum amount of schooling required to be a pharmacy technician is a high school diploma or GED. Some people choose to get a certificate or associate’s degree from a community college or vocational school, but it’s not required. Pharmacy technicians must complete a training program and pass a certification exam.
In most cases, a pharmacy tech program at a community college or trade school lasts one academic year or less. These programs are mostly offered in on-campus formats, but some may be available online. You’ll typically take classes in areas such as medical ethics, physiology, and pharmacy law and regulations. You may also get on-the-job training through an externship or internship program included as part of your coursework.
Associate’s degree programs
Associate’s degree programs in pharmacy technology typically take two years to complete and include both classroom and clinical work. During the first year of study, students usually take courses in chemistry, anatomy, physiology, math and other general education subjects. In the second year, they take more specific courses in pharmacy technology, including pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacology, pharmacy operations and record-keeping. Many associate’s degree programs also include an externship component, which gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a real pharmacy setting.
Bachelor’s degree programs
Bachelor’s degree programs in pharmacy technology are rare, but they are available at a few colleges and universities. These programs typically take four years to complete and include both classroom and laboratory instruction. In addition to coursework in general education subjects, students take classes in chemistry, biology, anatomy, physiology and pharmacology. They also complete a field experience or internship in a pharmacy setting.
The Bottom Line
Generally, a PTCB or ExCPT certification will suffice, although some employers may prefer applicants who have completed a formal pharmacy technician training program from an accredited school and/or have previous experience working in a pharmacy. fulfillment center. Employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.1