Pharmacist Assistant Certification and Diploma Program Information

Read about certification options and educational training programs for aspiring pharmacist assistants. Discover educational prerequisites, program courses and employment outlook for graduates.

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Essential Information

Pharmacist aides or technicians help measure and package medication and communicate with patients. Pharmacist technicians are generally responsible for executing more advanced tasks, while pharmacist aides may engage in mainly clerical and organizational tasks. Although most pharmacist aides receive only on-the-job training, pharmacist technicians may enroll in 2-year associate's programs in pharmacy technology.

In many states, pharmacy technicians need to meet certain regulatory requirements, which may include completion of a formal education program and a state-approved exam. Students who earn an associate's degree should have the necessary knowledge to take certification exams offered by the National Healthcareer Association and the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board.

Educational Prerequisites

Although there are rarely formal prerequisites for pharmacy technician degree programs, students are expected to hold a high school degree or its equivalent before enrolling. Some programs may request that students have completed certain basic biology or chemistry courses before beginning their core coursework.

Program Coursework

Students in a pharmacy technician associate degree program are introduced to a wide variety of pharmaceutical topics. The curriculum of most programs combines classroom coursework with labs and hands-on, clinical experiences. Below are some of the topics that may be included in the curriculum of such a degree program.

  • Pharmacy calculations
  • Basic clinical procedures
  • Pharmacology
  • Medical office practice
  • Pharmacy maintenance
  • Pathophysiology

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov), the employment of pharmacy technicians is anticipated to increase by 32% between 2010 and 2020, and employment of pharmacy aides is expected to increase by 29%. The BLS also states that as of May 2012, the mean annual wage of pharmacy technicians was $30,430, and that of pharmacy aides was $23,460.

Continuing Education Information

Pharmacy technicians may advance their careers by choosing to specialize in a particular area. Technicians with enough experience and training may also eventually work towards becoming a pharmacist. Becoming a pharmacist involves additional formal training and further certification.

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