Associate of Applied Science (AAS): Pharmacy Technician Degree Overview
Learn about the curriculum and requirements of an associate's degree program in pharmacy technology. Find out about employment options and continuing education for technicians.
A pharmacy technology associate's degree prepares students for careers assisting pharmacists in providing prescription drugs to patients . They may gather necessary information, process insurance details, package or label orders and monitor inventory. These programs, ideally approved by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, can teach students about the reaction between the human body and certain drugs. Individuals may need to meet state registration requirements to work as a pharmacy technician.
Typically, these programs require an internship under the supervision of a pharmacist. Students gain experience performing various duties such as interacting with patients, handling medications and receiving orders. A high school diploma is usually needed for admission into these programs.
Pharmacy technician programs cover various topics such as pharmaceutical terminology, recordkeeping, ethics and law. Along with general education requirements, students learn about various drugs, their uses and dosage. Courses may include:
- Pharmacy procedures
- Calculation and measurement
- Medical terminology
- Pharmacy management
- Pharmacy law and ethics
Popular Career Options
According to the BLS, pharmacy technician jobs were expected to increase by 32% between 2010 and 2020, which was much faster than all other jobs. This was partly due to the aging population that required more prescription drugs. The median annual wage in May 2012 for pharmacy technicians was $29,320. The BLS noted that many pharmacy technicians work in healthcare stores, hospitals, grocery and department stores. Some possible career options include:
- Pharmaceutical care associate
- Medical records manager
- Pharmacy records manager
- Pharmacy billing specialist
- Specialty pharmacy technician
Some states require pharmacy technicians to be registered and certified. Requirements vary by state, but many accept the certification offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). To earn this certification, individuals must meet education standards and pass a certifying exam. The PTCB exam includes topics in maintaining medication and inventory systems, patient service and pharmacy management. Recertification standards can be met through completing continuing education requirements.
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