Guide to Flexible Online Pharmacy Technician Training

Pharmacy technicians play a fundamental role in the healthcare industry. The pharmacy technician’s primary duties in the pharmacy are handling medications, filling and pricing prescriptions for customers, and managing inventory.

Online pharmacy technician training programs prepare students to fill a pharmacy technician’s job responsibilities, from assisting pharmacists with preparing prescriptions to help customers and patients.

Pharmacy Technician Training

There are many flexible options for taking training courses online, making it easier to get your pharmacy training degree. With online classes, a student can continue work and personal responsibilities while obtaining an education.

The majority of online pharmacy technician schools offer similar pharmacy technician classes as traditional campus programs. Completing schooling through online courses allows students to work at their own pace and have 24/7 access to lessons, online peer discussion forms, and assignments.

Students also have to complete an externship component with many online pharmacy technician programs. Online institutions partner with retail pharmacy chains to provide work experience opportunities for their students.

Online Pharmacy Technician Training Programs

There are various types of online pharmacy technician programs offered online that meet the needs of students. Students must understand the types of programs available to ensure they make the best decisions for their careers. The three standard programs available are diploma, associate degrees, and continuing education programs.

Career Diploma

Community colleges and vocational schools offer online diplomas that students can obtain in a year or less. These programs specialize in preparing the student to enter the workforce by providing the necessary training and credentials. Community colleges are public institutions and are typically less expensive.

Those enrolled in pharmacy technician diploma programs learn to update and manage patient records, understand medical terminology, and assist with office duties. Program requirements will vary depending on the type of plan and institution.

The majority of diploma programs take up to a year to obtain and consists of completing 18 to 50 credit hours. The period it takes students to graduate is contingent on the time they put in for their training.

Associate Degree

Community colleges also offer associate degree programs for pharmacy technicians that prepares students for their careers. Associate degree programs include more advanced education courses, not included in diploma programs.

Obtaining an associate degree involves 90 credit hours of general education in pharmacy technician courses. Online associate degrees for pharmacy technicians include pharmacy calculations, pharmacy law, and pharmacy records management classes.

Continuing Education

Continuing pharmacy education (CPE) certifies that pharmacy technicians maintain their aptitude and improve their skills. Most states require that pharmacy technicians have certification, and continuing pharmacy education is necessary for renewing the certificate.

Basic Curriculum for Online Pharmacy Technician Programs

Generally, online pharmacy technicians’ courses focus on science and math topics useful for students when they work as pharmacy technicians. Some primary curriculum for online pharmacy technician programs include:

  • Pharmacology for Mechanical Structures – pharmacology knowledge, such as mechanisms of drug interactions, side effects relating to the cardiovascular, indications and contraindications, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and respiratory systems
  • Community Pharmacy Practices – teaches skills needed to interpret, label, prepare and maintain records of physician medication prescriptions and orders in a community pharmacy setting. Subjects include prescription calculations, count and pour techniques, and customer service.
  • Pharmacy Law and Ethics – This course investigates the federal and state laws that govern pharmacies and addresses principles of ethical thought, as well as how to follow proper ethical practices
  • Pharmacy Practices – focuses on professional attitudes, technical skills, and judgments to function as a pharmacy technician.
  • Pharmaceutical Calculations – the basics of pharmaceutical measurements and the mathematics encountered in the pharmaceutical practices

Considerations for Pharmacy Tech Programs

When you are attempting to decide on a pharmacy tech program, it can be challenging because many options are available. Consider some of these features when choosing an online pharmacy technician program:

  • Decide which online program suits your career goals and is flexible to your needs as you train to become a pharmacy technician (diploma or associate’s degree), and has a start date that works with your schedule.
  • Make sure you meet admission and other academic requirements, such as placement tests or GPA scores.
  • Ensure the online school prepares you for the Pharmacy Technician Certification exam and meets the State Board of Pharmacy requirements in your state.
  • Make sure that the Accreditation Council recognizes the school for Pharmacy Education and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Commission on Credential
  • Check for support services available to students studying online, such as technical assistance, on-campus support, and career services.
  • Confirm tuition costs are realistic for you to afford, and look into financial aid options for online pharmacy technician students.

Final Thoughts

Aspiring pharmacy technicians can earn their certification or degree online, which gives them the flexibility needed to advance their careers and not sacrifice other areas of their lives. Graduates of online pharmacy tech programs receive the same attention and care to complete their education.

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