Pharmacy Technician Degrees: Program Options & Cost
Learn what courses you’ll need to complete as you embark on your pharmacy technician education.
What degree levels are available?
Pharmacy technicians aren’t just refilling prescription bottles each day. The job requires solid knowledge about drug classifications, managing insurance claims and providing excellent customer service. While some can be learned on the job, a pharmacy technician program will provide the training you need to be confident in your role.
While some employers are happy to hire pharmacy technicians and provide on-the-job training, you can improve your odds of landing a job by enrolling in a certificate or associate’s degree program at an accredited school.
What should you expect in these programs? Be prepared to cover a lot of topics in a short amount of time. Areas you’ll become familiar with include:
- Pharmaceutical Calculations and Measurements
- Medical Terminology
- Label and Prescription Information
Certificate and Diploma Programs
Enrolling in a certificate or diploma program is the fastest way to jump into the workforce. Because of the shorter time to completion, your courses will be quite focused. The curriculum is designed to teach students the exact skills they’ll need to work as a pharmacy technician.
Example of Pharmacy Technician Certificate Courses
Certificate and diploma programs train students in a number of topics in a short amount of time. As an example of course work, Houston Community College offers the following classes in its curriculum:
- Introduction to Health Professions
- Pharmacy Law
- Drug Classifications
- Pharmaceutical Math I and II
- Community Pharmacy Practice
- Compounding Sterile Preparations
- Institutional Pharmacy Practice
Within the two semester program, students also partake in clinical rotations in hospitals, retail and home care settings.
Associate’s Degree Programs
An associate’s degree program is a bit more comprehensive since it includes general education requirements, like English composition, college algebra and general psychology.
If you think you may return to school at a later date to earn a higher degree, an associate’s may be the better option over the certificate program. With two years of coursework under your belt, you’ll save time and money if some, or all, of your credits transfer to an undergraduate program. Just be sure your associate’s degree comes from an accredited school.
As an example of an associate’s degree curriculum, Renton Technical College offers the following course work:
- Pharmacy Technician Fundamentals and Ethics
- Top 200 Drugs
- Outpatient Pharmacy Preparations and Recordkeeping
- Chemistry for Pharmacy
- Business Office Machines
- Pharmacy Law and References
- Pharmacy Calculations
Students are also taught about customer service, management and supervision and human relations. In addition, a pharmacy practice internship is required.
What certification will I need?
To become certified as a pharmacy technician, you’ll need to sit for Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam. The prerequisites to take the exam are below:
- High school diploma, GED or higher
- No felony or drug-related convictions
- Are not under any State Board of Pharmacy restrictions
Upon passing the exam, you’ll be credentialed as a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT).
What will my education cost?
Pharmacy technician programs can range between $3,000 and $11,000. A number of factors will affect the cost*, such as whether you’re paying in-state or out-of-state tuition and how long it takes you to finish the program.
*Cost of tuition only. Prices do not reflect other fees, books, room and board.
What accreditation is there for my program?
Accreditation is a crucial part of any education. By attending an accredited school or program, potential employers know you’ve learned the skills and received the training that is in line with a national standard.
Pharmacy technician programs are accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.