How Long Is a Pharmacy Technician Certification Program?
As a pharmacy technician, you will assist pharmacists in dispensing medications, helping people who are sick get well again. Read on to find out about pharmacy technician programs that prepare you for certification. Schools offering Pharmacy Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Overview of Pharmacy Technician Certification
Obtaining the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential is voluntary; most states do not demand formal certification. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board as well as the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians, now part of National Healthcareer Association, offer certification exams to those who are interested. You should check with your state's board of pharmacy for specific requirements for employment. Typically, certified pharmacy technicians will need to undergo periodic re-certification to keep up with current trends and changes in the industry.
Length of a Pharmacy Technician Programs
If you'd like to prepare for the Certified Pharmacy Technician exam, you could enroll in a certificate program offered by a community college, college or university continuing education program or a vocational school. You could also choose to enroll in an Associate of Applied Science in Pharmacy Technician or Associate of Science in Pharmacy Technology program.
Certificate programs may be measured in credits or course hours, and you may be required to take more than 30 credits or complete 50 course hours of study. Many programs offer weekly classes, and you can complete a program in 3-10 months. Associate's degree programs generally take two years to complete. In addition to core classes specific to learning the basic skills and knowledge required of pharmacy technicians, you'll also take general education classes like math and composition. You might also be able to enroll in a self-paced distance-learning program at some schools.
Educational Prerequisites and Program Coursework
The typical minimum educational requirement of a pharmacy technician program at the certificate or associate's degree level is a high-school diploma or equivalent. Programs involve classroom instruction as well as laboratory studies. Additionally, most programs require you to complete some clinical rotations or externship work in pharmacies located in hospitals or retail stores. Some course topics include:
- Hospital and retail pharmacy business operations
- Ethical and legal issues in pharmacology
- Medical and pharmaceutical technology
- Body organs and anatomical systems
- Pharmaceutical mathematics
- Insurance procedures
- Inventory practices for pharmacies
- Pharmaceutical drugs
- Customer service and pharmacy technicians
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