Complete Guide to Online Pharmacy Technician Certification
Graduates of an online pharmacy technician certification program will be ready to assist pharmacists by interacting with and advising patients, filling prescriptions, compounding medications and ointments, and maintaining pharmacy records. Typical work settings include hospitals, retail pharmacies, long term nursing facilities, or educational institutions. Professionals in this career must have good interpersonal communication skills.
People contemplating the pharmacy technician career field should make certain the school they plan to attend is fully accredited through the American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists (ASHP). This will ensure that the obtained certificate or degree meets nationally-recognized standards. Read More
Comprehensive List of Schools for an Online Pharmacy Technician Degree (13)
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.
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.
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.
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.
There is no federally mandated regulatory board for pharmacy technologists and requirements vary widely by state. Although pharmacy technicians are not required to be certified or licensed in every state, some states do require both. California, for example, requires pharmacy technicians to complete a certificate program or associate degree, pass the certification exam, pass a background check, get fingerprinted, and then pay a fee to get licensed through the state in order to obtain a position in the field. Other states allow pharmacy technicians to obtain certification after some on-the-job training by simply taking the certification exam. However, as requirements increase for pharmacy technicians, there is a push toward requiring a certificate or degree in all states, so accredited pharmacy technician programs are being more strongly encouraged for those pursuing a career.
- Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. Accessed September 25, 2014. https://www.acpe-accredit.org/.
- American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists. Accessed September 25, 2014. http://www.ashp.org/.
- ASHP Accreditation for Pharmacy Technician Programs. Accessed September 25, 2014. http://www.ashp.org/DocLibrary/Accreditation/ASHPTechTrainingProg.aspx.
- CA.Gov Department of Consumer Affairs Board of Pharmacy. Accessed September 25, 2014. http://www.pharmacy.ca.gov/.
- National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Accessed September 25, 2014. http://www.nabp.net/.
- New Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission Launched. Accessed September 25, 2014. https://www.acpe-accredit.org/pdf/PTACLaunchAnnouncement.pdf.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. Accessed September 25, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm#tab-2.
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. Accessed September 25, 2014. http://www.ptcb.org/get-certified/apply#.VCR3kPldVS0.
- Why Get Certified? Accessed September 25, 2014. http://pharmtechtraining.net/why-certify.html.