Online Colleges for Pharmacy Technicians

The role of the pharmacy team has expanded over the last 25 years and now, more than ever, pharmacists are in need of help as they become more involved in patient care. That is where pharmacy technicians and aides come in. They help by taking on a broadened role in the pharmacy, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sometimes this means doing administrative work; other times, it means finding out if prescriptions are covered by health insurance or assisting with the prescription-filling process. Just like pharmacists, pharmacy technicians can put in long hours on the job depending on the hours of the pharmacy. Pharmacies are busy places so pharmacy technicians must have the ability to deal with customers who may be impatient or frustrated. Regardless, pharmacy technicians and aides have an essential role in health care.

Online Pharmacy Technician Programs

While pharmacy degrees aren't required to be able to work as a pharmacy technician, gaining a certificate, diploma, or an associate degree could be helpful in landing a job as employers often favor candidates with those credentials. Online pharmacy programs can help you learn about preparing prescriptions, verifying insurance and assisting a pharmacist. You may also learn about anatomy, medical terminology, and physiology. Online pharmacy programs are typically fast-paced and usually offer completion times anywhere between six months to two years (the latter for when you are seeking an associate degree).

Pharmacists, on the other hand, require much more education. They need to have at least a two-year degree in a science-related professional field and then must earn a PharmD degree, which usually takes four years to obtain. These types of pharmacy degree programs aren't available online, but if you want to become a pharmacy technician or aide, an online pharmacy program could work for you. See online health colleges for more related degree options.

Job Outlook for Pharmacy Technician Careers

According to the BLS, the pharmacy technician field is expected to grow 31 percent between 2008-2018. Pharmacy techs earned mean annual wages of $29,330, but those in the top 10 percent earned mean annual wages above $40,000, according to 2010 BLS data. In most states, pharmacy techs have to register with the state board of pharmacy; they can also seek certification through national organizations such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians. The majority of pharmacy techs work in retail, but some work in hospitals or in mail-order pharmacies. There are also a number of other fields that could be of interest to those who are considering a career as a pharmacy aide.

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