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Pharmacy technicians have become indispensable to the health care industry, and it's a great time to join this growing field. Pharmacy technician classes can get you started on this fulfilling career path. You'll gain the skills and knowledge to qualify for entry-level positions in pharmacies and be prepared for national certification.
Upon completion of this course, you will be prepared to sit for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). This course also includes a voucher which covers the fee of the exam. Pharmacy technician certification is an important issue for many industry employers and state legislatures, some of which now require national certification. You will also have the opportunity to apply for a 100+ hour externship.
Pharmacy Externship Program
Pharmacy technicians assist and support licensed pharmacists in providing healthcare to patients. The Pharmacy Technician Online Certification Training Program was developed in response to a rising need for trained technicians to work in a hospital or retail pharmacies. The pharmacy technician profession has become indispensable to the health care field. With this growing opportunity, however, has also come increased responsibility, and this increased responsibility has made certification an important issue for many industry employers and some state legislatures. Some states now require all individuals who work as pharmacy technicians to become nationally certified.
In all parts of the country, pharmacy technicians must have a broad knowledge of pharmacy practice and must be skilled in the techniques required to order, stock, package, and prepare medications, but they don't need the advanced college education required of a licensed pharmacist. Pharmacy technicians may perform many of the same duties as a pharmacist; however, all of their work must be checked by a pharmacist before medication can be dispensed to a patient.
This program will prepare you for entry-level pharmacy technician positions by teaching you medical and pharmaceutical terminology, basic anatomy related to the pharmacology of medications, and pharmaceutical calculations. The Pharmacy Technician Program will give you hands-on practice in retail pharmacy procedures through an online lab module. You'll learn what information is necessary to process prescriptions and physician orders and apply that knowledge to fill mock prescriptions. The curriculum also includes the ethics of pharmacy practice and education about prescription medications, patient care, and interaction, and charges and reimbursement.
You'll learn everything you need to know to pass the National Certification Exam offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). However, you'll need to make sure that the Pharmacy Technician Program will meet your state's requirements. To check, visit your state's Board of Pharmacy site for more information. You can access this information directly from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) website. Click on the "Who We Serve" link, then the "States" link for information. You can also call the state board and ask for the current technician regulations.
As a part of the Pharmacy Technician Online Certification Training Program, students have an option to perform an actual hands-on 100-hour clinical externship. Clinical externships are based on individual state board requirements. Learn more about externships below!
Upon completion of this program, you will be prepared to sit for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). The registration fee for this exam is included with this program.
ed2go has reached a nationwide agreement with several pharmacies that will give our Pharmacy Technician course students an important leg up in the job market. These pharmacies will offer their renowned externship programs to you, provided you meet basic qualifications.
Externs will get hands-on experience that includes assisting pharmacists with prescriptions, answering patient questions about medications, and a bevy of administrative duties.
In order to qualify for an externship, you'll have to pass a drug screening test, obtain professional liability insurance, complete a background check and employment verification, meet current immunization standards, conform with and complete any state mandates such as registration, fingerprinting, licensing, etc. Additional forms may be necessary for externships with certain pharmacies. It may take up to 12 weeks to find an available opening.
Disclaimer: To qualify for the externship applications process, students must successfully complete the online course content and have account balances up to date (at a minimum). Going through the externship application process does not guarantee an externship. COVID may be affecting the externship process or site availability in your area. Students can begin researching the steps of the application process 2 weeks prior to completing courses.
Participation in a CVS or Walgreens externship is contingent upon successfully completing a background check and/or drug screening that is consistent with the requirements of both state and federal laws.
PLEASE NOTE: Walgreens is not currently able to place externship students in Arizona and Florida because they're piloting a POWER project in those states. An alternate externship may be available in these states.
What you will learn
How you will benefit
Instructional Material Requirements:
The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment. The following textbooks will be shipped to you approximately 7-10 business days after enrollment:
*Please Note: Your Pharmacy Lab Kit with Manual will be sent separately from the rest of your materials and will be received within 3 months of enrollment.
If you're interested in becoming a pharmacy technician, this course is for you! No healthcare or medical office work experience is required.
You should be proficient in keyboarding (approximately 35 words per minute), have a basic understanding of a word-processing computer program (Microsoft Word is recommended), and have a command of English grammar and punctuation.
You are encouraged to have a basic understanding of high school math including percent's and proportions at the algebra level. This course will provide a review of fractions and decimals, in addition to covering more advanced pharmacy equations.
In order to sit for the national certification exam, you must complete a PTCB-Recognized Education program or have equivalent work experience; this course is recognized by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). Click here for additional information about equivalent work experience.
To participate in the retail externships, you must apply and fulfill all state and local pharmacy requirements. This will include a background check and drug test. There is no guarantee for externship placement.
Melissa Dunworth has been a pharmacy technician for over 13 years and has worked in retail, closed pharmacy, and training/education areas during her career. Melissa holds a Bachelor's degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences and works as a Developmental Specialist in Early Intervention for children ages 0 to 3 years. She has been a certified pharmacy technician since 1997. Melissa is also registered with the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy.
Betty Stahl holds a doctorate in pharmacy from Shenandoah University. Over the past several years, she has taught pharmacy technician programs at ASA College in New York City and ACT in Arlington, Virginia. Stahl has also worked as a pharmacist in independent and hospital settings.
What is a pharmacy technician?
A pharmacy technician performs important tasks to assist a pharmacist and serve pharmacy customers on a daily basis. A pharmacy technician's specific duties include taking inventory and ordering pharmacy supplies and medications, preparing and packaging medications for distribution to patients, interacting with customers to provide information, and answering patient questions. In addition, they communicate with doctors and other medical professionals when receiving prescriptions, fill insurance claims, and work under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist to complete whatever tasks are needed to help the pharmacy run efficiently.
What does a pharmacy technician do?
Pharmacy assistants and technicians order and stock medications; prepare and package medications for distribution to patients; and provide information to patients. Pharmacy technicians may perform many of the same duties as a pharmacist; however, all of their work must be checked by a pharmacist before medication can be dispensed to a patient.
Where can pharmacy technicians work?
Pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies. A pharmacy can be found in hospitals or healthcare facilities, drug and grocery stores or may be independent.
What are some of the things that Pharmacy Technicians can't do inside the pharmacy?
Pharmacy technicians can't perform certain jobs without the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist. They aren't allowed to make judgement calls related to drug substitutions, interpret of prescriptions, or give instructions for preparing prescriptions. In most areas, they also can't take a chart order or a new prescription over the phone. They also can't dispense medication unless the order for the prescription has been verified by a pharmacist.
How do I become a pharmacy technician?
Pharmacy technicians must have a high school diploma or equivalent and understand how to perform the essential pharmacy duties. Candidates can complete a certificate or postsecondary program to gain the knowledge and skills they need. Some can even gain the training they need on the job; however, most states regulate pharmacy technicians and require that they pass an exam or complete a formal training program. To work as a pharmacy technician in most states, you will need to either be licensed or have a professional certificate.
How do I get a pharmacy tech license?
Not all states require a pharmacy tech license, so you should check your state's Board of Pharmacy website for more information. PTCB State Regulations
How long does it take to become a pharmacy technician?
Many pharmacy technician programs can be completed in one year or less. This does not include the time you spend in an externship program or preparing and sitting for state licensure.
How long does it take to complete pharmacy tech school?
Our Pharmacy Technician course is self-paced and completed in 12 months or less. As part of your program, you will also complete a 100-hour externship if you qualify. Finally, you will receive a voucher as a part of your program to sit for your certification exam. Once you are certified, you'll have the qualifications you need to find an entry-level job in any pharmacy.
How do I go from pharmacy technician to pharmacist?
There are a few different ways to become a pharmacist after you gain experience working as a pharmacy technician. First, you will need to earn a bachelor's degree by earning an associate degree and rolling the credits into a 4-year program or enrolling directly into a pre-pharmacy bachelor's program. Second, after earning your bachelor's degree, you will need to take the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT). Your scores on this standardized test, along with previous contributions to the pharmacy industry (such as volunteer hours, membership in pharmacy organizations, and of course, working as a pharmacy technician), will be used to determine your acceptance to pharmacy school. Once accepted, you will attend school for another 4-5 years before taking and passing your state pharmacy board and law exams. Finally, your hard work will pay off, and you will be granted a license to practice as a pharmacist in your state.
How much do Pharmacy Technicians make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pharmacy Technicians earn a median wage of $16.87 per hour, equating to an annual salary of $35,100. Top earners in this position can make nearly $50,430 per year. Wages vary significantly by location, but the top paying states for pharmacy technicians include Washington, California, Oregon, and Alaska.
Is there a demand for Pharmacy Technicians?
Yes, Pharmacy Technicians are currently in demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the jobs for Pharmacy Technicians with certification will increase by 12 percent over the next several years which is faster than average. Increased demand for prescription medications will be the primary driver of the growth in number of positions. The BLS also suggests that people with formal training or certification will be more sought after to fill open positions.
What is a PTCB certification?
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) administers the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), which determines an individual's pharmacy technician knowledge. When you pass the exam, you become certified and may use the designation "CPhT". You will need to sit for the exam after this course; certification is not included.
How can I find my state's requirements for certification?
Online is a great resource for finding your state's requirements for certification. All states have a website with the Board of Pharmacy information. You can access this information directly from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) website at www.ptcb.org. Click on the "Who we serve" link, then the "states" link for information. You can also call the state board and ask for the current technician regulations.
What if my state requires more than what's offered in this course?
Most states still offer employment prior to certification. This often comes with the stipulation that certification is acquired within a period of time (usually a year). During this period, you'll work as an unlicensed personnel member, clerk, or aide. On-the-job training or externships are a great way to obtain the number of hours required (many states require a minimum number of hours worked before you can be registered or certified with the board). If your goal is to work in a hospital pharmacy, finding that job while you're still a student will help you reach your employment requirements, along with the educational clinical requirements.
How will the Pharmacy Externship be established?
ed2go has established a national contract with Walgreens and CVS for Pharmacy Technician externships. Externships are based on availability and cannot be guaranteed. Our Externship coordinator will work with you to set up a retail pharmacy externship. If you are interested in applying for an externship in a local pharmacy that is not a Walgreens or CVS, you may discuss these other options with your externship coordinator. If you're currently working in a pharmacy setting, that will qualify. With the increase in confidentiality and privacy regulations and liability issues in relation to health information, externships could become difficult to accomplish.
*By state regulation, you may be required to apply for your pharmacy technician license or register with the State Board of Pharmacy before you can apply for the externship. Please check the website for your state's Board of Pharmacy regulations and additional information. The state's Board of Pharmacy has the most accurate and up to date information.
Can I qualify in the externship course if I have a criminal record?
Unfortunately, you will not qualify for the externship course if you have a criminal record. While you can still enroll in the course, to participate in externships, students must not have a criminal record. Background checks will be conducted prior to the student's admittance into the externship course.
Can I get financial assistance?
This course is non-credit, so it does not qualify for federal aid, FAFSA and Pell Grant. In some states, vocational rehab or workforce development boards will pay for qualified students to take our courses. Additionally, some students may qualify for financial assistance when they enroll, if they meet certain requirements. Financing is available from select schools. Learn more about financial assistance.
Can I register for a course if I am an international student?
Yes, ed2go courses are completely online. However, keep in mind that not all certifying bodies or industry-specific certifications are recognized internationally. Please review your country's regulations prior to enrolling in courses that prepare for certification.
The Pharmacy Lab Kit with the Manual is only available for students who reside in the U.S./Canada; alternative options are available for international students. Please contact us for additional information before enrolling.
Does this course prepare for a certification?
Yes, this course does prepare you for a certification. You will be prepared to sit for the National Certification exam titled Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
When can I start the course?
This course is open enrollment, so you can register and start the course as soon as you are ready. Access to your course can take 24-48 business hours.
What kind of support will I receive?
The course instructor will be available by email to answer any questions and provide feedback on your performance. Occasionally, your course may be supported by a team of industry experts. You will also receive support from the student advising team.
How long does it take to complete this course?
This course is self-paced and open enrollment, so you can start when you want and finish at your own pace. When you register, you'll receive twelve (12) months to complete the course.
What if I don't have enough time to complete my course within the time frame provided?
The time allotted for course completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours. However, if you are unable to complete the course, contact the student advising team to see what options you may have available to work out a suitable completion date. Please note that an extension fee may be charged.
How can I get more information about this course?
If you have questions that are not answered on our website, representatives are available via LIVE chat. You can also call us at 1-877-221-5151 during regular business hours to have your questions promptly answered. If you are visiting us during non-business hours, please send us a question using the "Contact Us" form.
What happens when I complete the course?
Upon successfully completing the course and fulfilling the financial obligation, you'll be awarded a certificate of completion. In addition, you will receive an exam voucher to sit for the National Certification Exam which is the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), offered by Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
Am I guaranteed a job?
This course will provide you with the skills you need to obtain an entry-level position in most cases. Potential students should always do research on the job market in their area before registering.
I could complete it taking my own time as I had a lot of other things going on and definitely could fit this into my schedule by working around it.- A.T., Florida Institute of Technology
I loved the online course with a busy schedule, it helped a lot. I had a great teacher.- B.K., Middle Tennessee State University
I never thought I would be able to complete a course such as Pharmacy Technician online. At times the course became challenging, especially when it came to the calculations, but the books and CD's really explained the material thoroughly. Everyone from Central Michigan/Gatlin Education was extremely helpful and always responded back to me in a timely manner. I was encouraged throughout the course with positive and constructive feedback.- T.N., Central Michigan University
It was a great experience learning about the course. My facilitator was very supportive. I enjoyed the books because they were very informative and detailed.- T.P., California State University, East Bay
I was able to study on my own time. I received support and answers to my questions and in a timely manner. For me, the online experience with this course went very smoothly. Thank you.- C.D., CV-TEC
Being able to do the coursework at my own pace was the best part!- P.A., Ivy Tech Community College - East Central
I just wanted to thank all of you for your course and the help you gave me throughout. I just passed my certification yesterday and I am looking forward to the future as a Pharmacy Technician.- California State University, East Bay
My learning experience was awesome. My facilitator and student support personnel were obviously masters of their craft! The program was user friendly and in real time. I had big fun!- Y.M., University of the Virgin Islands
In general, I love learning. I got good feedback on all of my reports. The support that I received from Joshua (support staffer) went above and beyond my expectations.- M.H., California State University, East Bay
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