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Online Colleges for Pharmacy Technicians

The career of a pharmacy technician may be a great choice for students interested in healthcare but who aren't sure they want to go to medical school or pursue another medical field. This profession plays a valuable role in caring for patients by helping them to get and understand their medications.

Fortunately, it's also a career that students can train for online, often in a year or less.

Some pharmacy technicians train on the job. However many states and employers require certification. Both the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Heathcareer Association (NHA) offer certifications. Many online colleges for pharmacy technicians prepare graduates for certification.

On this page, you will find details about featured online pharmacy tech programs. Plus, read about what pharmacy technicians do, how to train for this career and what to expect from online programs.

Featured Online Colleges for Pharmacy Technicians

While pharmacy technicians may receive on-the-job training, this is a complex job. New information about drugs and their effects come to light every day. Technicians are being asked to work more closely with patients and know more about medications. Schooling prepares future pharmacy technicians to take on added responsibility. More pharmacies may require pharmacy techs to have formal training in the future.

For students thinking about online pharmacy technician programs, check out these featured programs.

1

Community Care College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
14
School Type
2-year

The nonprofit Community Care College offers pharmacy technician students the choice of earning a career diploma, which can typically be completed in one year, or an associate degree. The programs can be completed on-campus or entirely online. The programs are designed to prepare graduates to take the PTCB national certification exam.

During the program, students are able to take field trips and get hands-on experiences in retail pharmacies, filling prescriptions and preparing compounds.

Accreditation:

  • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools

Location:

4242 S. Sheridan Road
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74145
2

Hutchinson Community College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,168
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
37.14%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
25
School Type
2-year

Hutchinson Community College offers more than 250 online courses, with many associate and certificate programs offered completely online. Its pharmacy technician certificate program is 39 credit hours long. It includes a practicum, which gives students hands-on experience working in pharmacies.

This Kansas-based college is part of the Jayhawk Athletic Conference. Even online students may enjoy rooting for Hutchinson's 13 athletic teams in sports ranging from football to golf, volleyball and track.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
  • American Society of Health-System Pharmacists

Location:

1300 North Plum
Hutchinson, Kansas 67501
3

Minnesota State Community and Technical College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$5,338
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
37.62%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
35
School Type
2-year

Students in Minnesota State Community and Technical College's pharmacy technician program can choose to earn a 36-credit diploma or a 60-credit associate of applied science (AAS) degree. Classes are online, but hands-on training takes place in the lab at the Wadena campus.

A group of local industry professionals review the curriculum, making sure the courses include useful, current content. This program was ranked No. 5 nationally by BestCollege.com in its 2016 list of Best Online Pharmacy Technician Programs.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

1414 College Way
Fergus Falls, Minnesota 56537
4

North Central Missouri College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$4,170
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
52.28%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
31
School Type
2-year

Students at North Central Missouri College can choose between earning a pharmacy technician associate degree or a one-semester pharmacy technician certificate. The associate degree typically takes two years to complete. The certificate program prepares students for the Missouri state certification exam.

Although these programs are not fully online, major parts of their programs are available online. Toward the ends of both programs, students complete pharmacy internships. Also, both programs include a course called Employment Strategies, which assists students in finding jobs.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

1301 Main St.
Trenton, Missouri 64683
5

Pinnacle Career Institute

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
10
School Type
2-year

This fully online program can usually be completed in 11 months and ends in a certificate. It prepares students to sit for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam and earn the NHA's CPhT credential. Courses are career-centered and provide skills necessary in today's pharmacies. Students also get hands-on experience through externships in real pharmacies.

Pinnacle Career Institute, which is based in Kansas City, Missouri, offers students career services such as resume help, interview prep and job leads. Its online library is accessible 24/7, with an online librarian always available.

Accreditation:

  • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools

Location:

10301 Hickman Mills Drive
Kansas City, Missouri 64137
6

Southwestern Oregon Community College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$5,655
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
48.80%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
14
School Type
2-year

The online pharmacy technician program at Southwestern Oregon Community College is a 51-credit program that aims to prepare students to work in retail or hospital pharmacies. Students will graduate with certificates of completion that show they are able to assist pharmacists with preparing and giving out medications.

Students at Southwestern Oregon Community College benefit from the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC). The TLC is a resource that provides online teaching support to faculty and helps them use technology to the fullest for students.

Accreditation:

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Location:

1988 Newmark Ave.
Coos Bay, Oregon 97420
7

Ultimate Medical Academy

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
6
School Type
2-year

Ultimate Medical Academy has an online associate degree program and an online career diploma program for pharmacy technicians. The associate program includes a 180-hour externship in a real pharmacy. It can typically be completed in 17 months. The career diploma can usually be done in 11 months, and it includes an externship as well. Graduates of both are generally prepared to take the PCTB exam. The Ultimate Medical Academy program provides exam-relevant content and tutoring if needed.

Ultimate Medical Academy has partnerships with national pharmacies, such as Walgreens and CVS. This may help students with job placement after graduation.

Accreditation:

  • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools

Location:

9309 N Florida Ave Ste 100
Tampa, Florida 33612

At a Glance: Pharmacy Technician Programs

Below you can see the tuition and program length of the 10 pharmacy technician programs that were featured earlier on this page. This chart allows you to see all this information at a glance. Note that the program length is a general estimate provided by schools and it may vary depending on the student. Also, the tuition column is marked if the school offered at least one program under the specified amount; this price does not necessarily apply to all pharmacy technician programs offered by the school. If you are interested in a school, visit their website to learn more about their current tuition for the program you are investigating. This information is current as of May 2016.

CollegesOffers Tuition Under $5,000Typical Program length
Community Care College 1 year (diploma)
2 years (associate degree)
Hutchinson Community CollegeX39 credit hours / 3 semesters (certificate program)
Minnesota State Community and Technical College 36 credit hours (diploma)
60 credit hours (AAS degree)
North Central Missouri CollegeX1 semester (certificate)
2 years (associate degree)
Penn Foster Career SchoolX9 months (diploma)
Pinnacle Career Institute 11 months (certificate)
Rasmussen College 9 months (certificate)
18 months (associate degree)
Southwestern Oregon Community CollegeX51 credit hours / 3 semesters (certificate)
Ultimate Medical Academy 11 months (certificate)
17 months (associate degree)
U.S. Career InstituteX4 months (certificate)

Interview with an Expert
The flexibility of a completely online program
is very convenient for students.

Cody Yeager

Dean of Career and Technical Education

Southwestern Oregon Community College

Interview with an Expert
Cody Yeager

Cody Yeager

Dean of Career and Technical Education

Southwestern Oregon Community College

Q: What qualities make Southwestern Oregon Community College's online pharmacy technician program outstanding?

A: The flexibility of a completely online program is very convenient for students. We enjoy strong community support in regard to placement for cooperative work experience.

Q: What support does Southwestern Oregon Community College offer its online student body?

A: Online students have the support of the Teaching and Learning Center at Southwestern. TLC offers facilitation, support and resources for teaching, learning and technology to faculty and staff. The staff at TLC do a fabulous job of providing extensive support to both students and faculty. Our library can also be accessed online. Our tutoring center provides both in-person and online tutoring.

Q: How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

A: At Southwestern, we definitely see a trend toward offering more online courses and programs in the future. Students want them and many instructors also prefer this delivery method. In Allied Health, we anticipate that we will offer more hybrid and interactive delivery methods. This is clearly the future for college instruction. We are always growing and adding new courses and programs online. We want to remain current and competitive in order to offer our students the best options. In the future, I see online education continuing to be dynamic and versatile.

Degree Overview: Pharmacy Technician

From courses in pharmacology and chemistry to opportunities for hands-on experience in some of the largest pharmacy chains in the nation, students planning to work as pharmacy technicians have a wealth of knowledge available to them through online programs. Here's a primer on what you may encounter on the journey.

Online Pharmacy Technician Courses

It is possible to complete the vast majority of pharmacy technician programs, whether online or on-campus, within a very short time frame, usually about nine months. The goal is to prepare students with real-world knowledge and experience, so they are prepared to move into the workforce immediately upon graduation. Students usually receive a diploma or certificate of completion, which most employers accept as suitable for entry-level work.

Common courses a students might encounter include:

  • Introduction to Pharmacy Technician
  • Pharmacy Software Management
  • Pharmacy Management and Operations
  • Pharmacy Billing and Reimbursement
  • Pharmacy Sterile and Non-Sterile Compounding
  • Pharmacy Law and Regulations
  • Dosage Calculation
  • Therapeutics and Medical Safety
  • Health Science Business Procedures

An important part of any pharmacy technician's education is practical experience, which might seem difficult to acquire through an online program. However, most online schools have agreements with local and/or chain pharmacies that allow an online student to work at a pharmacy in their own community and have their experience documented by their school despite the distance. Each school has different ways of doing this, but in short: a student who needs hands-on experience for their program rarely has to travel to the school itself to get that experience. When it comes to a feature as integral as pharmacy technician externships, this is very important!

Some states require pharmacy technicians to be certified. Certification is available through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). Even if the certification is not required in a certain state, it is recommended as a way to give graduates an edge during hiring time.

In some states, students who want to work in hospitals, long-term care facilities and the like must earn a higher level of education, such as an associate or bachelor's degree. Since programs for pharmacy tech at these levels are few and far between, most students opt to earn their degree in a related field, such as chemistry or microbiology, then take pharmacy courses to prepare for certification.

Career-Related Skills to Develop

Pharmacy technician programs often involve a hands-on component, which prepares students for one of the most important aspects of the job: customer service. Good customer service skills are essential when dealing with individuals seeking not only the filling of prescriptions, but information concerning their health and medication. As part of delivering a quality customer service experience, the ability to carefully listen is vital, as are verbal and written communication skills.

Much of the work a pharmacy tech does involves serious attention to detail, strong math skills, top-notch organizational skills and decision-making skills. Pharmacy technicians are often expected to figure out dosages of medications; fill prescriptions with accuracy; stay organized when handed numerous prescriptions and medication requests; and understand when it's time to refer the patient to a pharmacist or even a physician for further instruction. Though these skills are honed on the job, the use of them begins during the pharmacy technician program, in particular during those crucial externships.

Pharmacy Technician Career Outlook

Pharmacy technicians are often the first people to speak with pharmacy customers. Usually, customers know very little about their medications. Some may even be nervous about their illnesses and treatments. Pharmacy technicians play an important part in the process of getting the correct medications to patients and helping them understand their prescriptions. Below you will see a description of the pharmacy technician job and details about the outlook of the career.

Pharmacy Technician
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$32,170
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
71,600
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
9.3
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
High school diploma or equivalent
The job of a pharmacy technician keeps changing as new drugs are developed and healthcare needs shift. More and more, pharmacists are relying on technicians to go beyond their regular duties. They aren't just selling prescriptions. They are working closely with patients to gather information about allergies and symptoms, as well as patient information needed to fill prescriptions. They are also providing needed information to pharmacists. Many even train and evaluate less-experienced technicians. Of course, techs also measure prescriptions, label drugs, answer phone calls, and work with insurance companies and doctors. Pharmacy technicians with formal training and certifications may be preferred by employers.
Article Sources

Sources:

  1. “4 Ways the Pharmacy Technician Profession Is Changing,” Ryan Marotta, March 18, 2016, Pharmacy Times, Accessed May 2016, http://www.pharmacytimes.com/technician-news/4-ways-the-pharmacy-technician-profession-is-changing
  2. Cost of Attending Community Care College, StartClass, Accessed May 2016, http://college-tuition.startclass.com/l/5756/Community-Care-College
  3. Course Outline, National Pharmacy Technician Association, Accessed May 2016, http://www.pharmacytechnician.org/syllabus/
  4. Hutchinson Community College, Accessed May 2016, www.hutchcc.edu
  5. Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Accessed May 2016, www.minnesota.edu
  6. North Central Missouri College, Accessed May 2016, www.ncmissouri.edu
  7. Penn Foster Career School, Accessed May 2016, www.pennfoster.edu
  8. Pharmacy Technicians, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-2017 Edition, Accessed April 2016, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm
  9. Pinnacle Career Institute, Accessed May 2016, www.pcitraining.edu
  10. Rasmussen College, Accessed May 2016, www.rasmussen.edu
  11. Southwestern Oregon Community College, Accessed May 2016, www.socc.edu
  12. U.S. Career Academy, Accessed May 2016, www.uscareerinstitute.edu
  13. Ultimate Medical Academy, Accessed May 2016, www.ultimatemedical.edu
  14. Pharmacy Technician Course Details, Penn Foster Career School, https://www.pennfoster.edu/programs-and-degrees/medical-and-health-careers/pharmacy-technician-career-diploma/program-details
  15. Pharmacy Technician Curriculum, Remington College, http://www.remingtoncollege.edu/pharmacy-technician/courses/
  16. Pharmacy Technicians, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 17, 2015, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm#tab-1
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Article Sources