How do I become a Pharmacy Tech and are online programs available?

If you are interested in becoming a Pharmacy Technician, you may wonder what type of education is required. After high school graduation, you may elect to earn a professional certificate or obtain an associate degree in this field. You will need to check with your state to see what they require in terms of certification or licensure, as well as, their regulations on the required number of hours, the cost of exam fees and the requirements regarding continued education.

However, to be considered for a Pharm Tech position, most employers prefer that you attend a training program, which can last between one to two years. These programs can often be found at your local community college, trade school or through a convenient online format.

A good Pharm Tech should possess qualities such as, compassion and patience, must be a good listener, a good communicator and well organized. You must pay attention to detail and be proficient in your math skills. Excellent customer service and computer skills are a must.

Pharmacy Technician programs will educate you in the different types of drugs, medical and pharmaceutical terminology and the anatomy and physiology of the human body. You will also learn about federal and state law safety practices that govern the pharmacy field, as well as, legal and ethical-related issues pertaining to your responsibilities as a Pharm Tech. You will become familiar with inventory techniques, along with, medical and pharmaceutical terminology.

As you work under the supervision of a Pharmacist, you will know how to re-order and stock drugs, in addition to, counting medications and how to use label-making software for pill bottles. In addition, you will become familiar with over-the-counter medications, along with, how drugs interact with each other and the human body. You will also need to know about potential side effects that can occur and how to treat adverse reactions.

There are many abbreviations and symbols to learn, as well as, generic and brand names of drugs. Pharm Tech coursework also covers the most commonly used units of measurement, how to calculate dosages and about concentrations and dilutions. You must also know how to properly store medications. Students will learn the proper procedures in guarding themselves and others from illness and infections.

A portion of your education will include the administrative side of being a Pharm Tech. For example, you will learn how the world of healthcare insurance works, how to file claims and how to determine drug pricing. You will also learn the structure and functions of the human body, such as, how the nervous, respiratory, digestive and urinary systems work in tandem.

Some training programs often encourage or require internship programs. These must be completed through your local community drug store or big box store pharmacy. Again, check with your state to see what sort of requirements are in place for internship opportunities. You may also need to obtain CPR and First Aid Certification.

Please keep in mind that if you decide to obtain your education through an online program, you may be required to fulfill a portion of your clinical experience in person, therefore, you will need to check your school’s requirements for specifics to see if you can commit to the completion of the program before you sign on. Other requirements for online distance learning will require a reliable Internet connection, a computer, as well as, word processing and spreadsheet software. You can submit your assignments, take tests and communicate with fellow students and professors through virtual classrooms and message boards.

If you are interested in this trade, please see our list for the Best Online Pharmacy Technology Certificate Programs.