A pharmacy technician prepares prescriptions for distribution to patients.
You can start out in this occupation and transfer to one of several other medically related career tracks, and you may even end up becoming a nurse or doctor.
It also might work in the reverse, such as, you decided you don’t want to be a nurse but have spent time as a nursing assistant.
- What Courses Are in an Online Pharmacy Technician?
- Can You Earn a Pharmacy Technician Certification Completely Online?
- How Long Does it Take to Earn a Pharmacy Technician?
- How Much Does an Online Pharmacy Technician Certification Cost?
- Types of Pharmacy Technician Certifications
- Benefits of Online Pharmacy Technician Training
- Drawbacks of Online Pharmacy Technician Training
- Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Pharmacy Technician Training – Summary Table
- 7 Self-Study Tips for Pharmacy Technician Online Students
What Courses Are in an Online Pharmacy Technician?
Online pharmacy technician course curriculum covers basic pharmacy terminology and medication dispensing procedures.
Your courses will also make sure you’re aware of pharmaceutical calculations and will receive drug dosage and usage information.
In addition, you will have to take courses covering human body basics, such as anatomy or physiology.
Can You Earn a Pharmacy Technician Certification Completely Online?
You can earn most of your pharmacy technician certification online.
However, you will still need to obtain the necessary on-the-job training required before you take your certification exam.
For more details, visit the primary certification information site.
If you you’re not sure if online training is right for you, you might also want to contact local schools.
Even if you don’t sign up for programs at your local schools, they might offer you ideas to help you proceed with your online training.
As far as practical experience in person required to become a pharmacy technician, try local stores.
You also might want to consult with volunteer organizations and clinics to see if they have any internship placement leads.
How Long Does it Take to Earn a Pharmacy Technician?
It typically takes you about two years.
Receiving on-the-job training as an assistant could shorten the time that it takes for you to enter the workforce while you work toward your certification.
In some cases, you might start receiving an income after less than a year while you train to become a pharmacy tech.
It all depends on you, really, how long it takes you to finish your pharmacy tech certification.
However, the availability of education does matter too, which makes online education so attractive to some people.
Still, you need the motivation to complete your coursework as soon as possible if you want to move toward the next phase of your health care career.
How Much Does an Online Pharmacy Technician Certification Cost?
Expenses vary, depending on whether textbooks come with the tuition or not.
You might pay between $500-$2000 for the initial certification sessions.
If you decide to pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree training, you might spend two to four years in school and pay approximately $2000-$4000 per semester or more.
Types of Pharmacy Technician Certifications
You can obtain one of three primary pharmacy technician certifications.
Additional training may award you certification enhancement beyond this.
- Certified Pharmacy Technician – Also known as the CPhT, will start you off on the path to pursuing a pharmacy career. Obtaining this certificate requires a combination of on-the-job training, education, and exam passing. Achieving this certificate proves you have proficiencies in prescription and non-prescription medication safety, and it also proves you can read and interpret prescriptions. It will also show that you can perform pharmaceutical calculations.
- Certified Compounded Sterile Preparation Technician – This certification, otherwise called the CSPT, offers you proof of advanced training when dealing with customized medicinal compounds. It also demonstrates that you will stay safe while performing all compounded sterile technician responsibilities, which include handling sensitive prescription drug administrations.
- Advanced Certified Pharmacy Technician – You might see this marked as the CPhT-Adv certification. It offers you more extensive details about prescription medications than you would receive at the beginner’s level. Anyone who has worked at least three out of the last eight years in a pharmacy setting qualifies for this certification, pending other requirements and exam passing.
Benefits of Online Pharmacy Technician Training
Study At Your Own Pace
There’s no need to stress if you have a busy schedule and already work full time.
You can set your own hours for study and exam time.
This may require some discipline on your part and boundary setting with spouses, parents, friends, neighbors, and other people.
However, you at least have the chance to control your schedule.
Online pharmacy technician programs don’t usually require students to travel to class or live on campus.
Therefore, it reduces your transportation, room, and board costs.
What’s more, online classes typically allow more students to participate without classroom limits.
This cuts down on the amount that instructors have to charge.
More Training Specializations
You might have the chance to take courses online that you normally would not have access to in your location.
Additionally, you may have an opportunity to specialize in electives that help you meet your interests and goals.
For instance, you might receive chances to take classes that prepare you to work in either hospital or retail settings.
Take the courses when you want to, and you won’t have to wait as long to sign up as if you were to have to join a traditional class waiting list.
You might also have a more diverse selection of supporting classes to take as an online student than as a person addition class on a physical campus.
Increased Interaction Possibilities
You can communicate with your instructor and other students in more ways than in just a traditional class.
This may include interactions by email, text, or online chat and video sessions.
It also provides you the chance to send your questions to your instructors or receive feedback from other colleagues without waiting in line for an answer on class day.
Drawbacks of Online Pharmacy Technician Training
Limited Hands-on Experience
You will not receive as much hands-on experience as you would in a traditional pharmacy setting.
That’s why you’ll need to explore local paid or unpaid experiences when in an online pharmacy tech training program.
You will find many credible online pharmacy technician training programs.
Still, do your research.
This confirms that your online coursework matches up with certification requirements.
Look for student reviews and sign up for local offerings when possible to verify the training tracks to improve your chances of receiving credible information.
If you know you have received training from a credible school, it will reduce problems come time to receive your certification.
You might have the freedom to arrange your coursework and study times the way you want when taking online classes.
However, you also must deal with balancing your personal life with your work and your education with the people you care about the most.
It’s not impossible to complete online pharmacy tech courses, but they’re a challenge if you already have “a lot on your plate” before you decide to start classes.
Make sure you can handle the distractions you face before you commit to your online training.
Less In-Person Feedback
Although you have some opportunities via video lessons, you may not always have the in-person feedback you want.
This might come as a disadvantage to you when trying to learn pharmacy procedures before you attempt to perform in a “live” retail setting.
However, you will still succeed if you have enough self-motivation.
Perhaps connect with other students if you feel you need practice before trying to prepare prescriptions for paying customers.
Then, continue with your attempt to acquire on-the-job training to make up for the lack of in-person feedback during pharmacy tech classes.
Longer Response Times
Your instructors may have more ways to communicate with you using the Internet, and you can send your questions without waiting in line in person.
However, the educators in charge of your classes might not have the chance to return your email, call, or text for a day or two.
Still, virtual communication gives you more opportunities to connect with the ones teaching you in case you don’t have time during live class sessions to talk.
Just don’t always expect an immediate response, but you at least don’t miss out on having someone reply.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Pharmacy Technician Training – Summary Table
|Benefits of Online Pharmacy Technician Training||Drawbacks of Online Pharmacy Technician Training|
|Study At Your Own Pace||Limited Hands-on Experience|
|Less Expensive||Questionable Credibility|
|More Training Specializations||Multiple Distractions|
|Flexibility||Less In-Person Feedback|
|Increased Interaction Possibilities||Longer Response Times|
7 Self-Study Tips for Pharmacy Technician Online Students
1. Examine course requirements.
This will help you determine if you can complete the pharmacy technician program.
In most cases, you at least need a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent.
This will prepare you for taking on extra coursework after you graduate, and it will help you decide if becoming a pharmacy technician is the best career path for you.
2. Sign up for an approved course.
You must research your educational options before you enroll in courses.
3. Establish your study schedule.
To stay motivated and on track, create a study schedule and stick to it.
In the process, make enough time to meet your deadlines, but cut yourself some slack.
Sometimes you also need a break in between study sessions.
4. Weed out all distractions.
Create a space in your home where you can focus on your studies without distractions.
Stay away from your phone and social media at this time too.
Moreover, set boundaries with your family, especially if you have children, and find activities to keep them occupied while you’re taking your intellectual “time out.”
Removing distractions also demands that you set firm boundaries with your spouse, children, friends, families, and coworkers.
Don’t take every invitation given to you to party, and don’t try to “help” everyone who tries to take advantage of you either.
This is “your” time to prepare for a new career.
5. Explore On-the-job training opportunities.
Seeking practical experience in person will help you learn your trade fast.
It will also provide you with an edge on the competition when seeking open pharmacy technician positions.
6. Pursue full-time work.
Make connections with local grocery stores and pharmacies, doctor’s offices, or hospitals and clinics.
Find out what their requirements are while in training and continue to fill out applications that interest you.
7. Update your certifications.
You may require a certificate renewal at least once every two years, depending on your experience level.
Make sure you continue the education required to keep up with current medicinal and health technology.
Do I need a license to perform as a pharmacist in my state?
Requirements vary based on location.
As of 2022, only five states total don’t have specific pharmacy technician licenses.
These include Colorado, New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Hawaii.
However, it doesn’t mean that these states don’t have standards.
Who is the governing pharmacy technician entity?
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board in Washington, D.C. has earned the respect of pharmacists, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals.
You also might want to consult with the Nurse.org website and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.
Do pharmacy technicians learn how to regulate addictions?
They can’t always control the distribution of medications, but pharmacy technicians do play a role in preventing prescription drug misuse.
Can I advise patients as a pharmacy technician?
Be careful what information you give to patients about their medications.
Make sure you cover this with your instructions when in training if you’re not 100 percent sure what you can and cannot say.
Use this as a reference to prepare you for your pharmacy tech career.
Becoming a pharmacy technician can send you on the way to a rewarding future in the health care industry.
It could provide you the experience you need to prepare for a pharmacist career, for instance.
What’s the difference between a pharmacy technician and a pharmacist?
A pharmacy technician has the knowledge and authorization to administer medications under the direction of a pharmacist or medical doctor.
Someone at the pharmacist or doctor’s level, however, would write prescriptions, which a pharmacy technician can’t do.
You can pursue an online pharmacy technician training program.
However, make sure you fulfill your in-person practical experience requirements.