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Pharmacist Assistant School and College Program Overviews

Learn about requisite education for pharmacy assistants or technicians. Read on to discover examples of coursework in pharmacy assistant certificate programs, as well as reviewing employment outlook and salary information.

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Essential Information

Pharmacist assistant or technician certificate programs can prepare you to work in a pharmacy at a medical clinic, hospital, nursing home or retail store. Through a pharmacy assistant certificate program, you could gain an understanding of medical terminology and pharmacology and learn to perform the basic tasks of a pharmacy technician, including measuring, labeling and dispensing medications. You might learn to interact with patients and build your bookkeeping, administrative, math and organizational skills. Certification is available - and sometimes required - for pharmacy technicians.

Program Coursework

Pharmacy assistant programs usually include a mix of classroom and laboratory learning, as well as one or more practicums. Specific areas of study might include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Pharmacist technology
  • Basic mathematics
  • Pharmacy record keeping
  • Introduction to computers
  • Pharmaceutical calculations
  • Medical terminology

Employment Outlook and Salary

Employment of pharmacy technicians was forecast to grow 32% between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). This was much faster than average. An increasing number of aging baby boomers needing prescription medication was expected to keep pharmacy techs in high demand. As of May 2012, pharmacy technicians earned a median hourly wage of $14.10.

Continuing Education

Most states have education requirements for pharmacy technicians and require that they pass a criminal background check. Some states and employers also mandate certification through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the National Healthcareer Association. Even if not required, certification could prove beneficial since it can make it easier to find a job as a pharmacy tech.

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