Online Pharmacy Technician Associate Degree


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Pharmacy technicians mix, dispense and label prescriptions under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. They may also perform administrative tasks at a pharmacy that include recording patient information, accepting payments from customers for prescriptions and processing insurance claims. Most pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies or hospitals, but they can also work in research institutions or for manufacturers.

“The majority of your customers that you’re going to be dealing with are sick – whether it is a cold or sinus infection or a much more serious, chronic condition. So it takes a lot of compassion and empathy,” Mike Johnston, chairman and chief executive officer of the National Pharmacy Technician Association, said in an interview with U.S. News.

While a pharmacy technician associate degree is not required for employment as a pharmacy technician, it could allow individuals to continue their education to the bachelor’s level if they so desire.

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Course Work

Example courses
Medical terminology
Pharmaceutical calculations
Pharmacy dispensing
Anatomy and physiology
Human structure and function

Core course work for an online associate degree program in pharmacy technology includes medical terminology, pharmacology, pathology and pharmacy calculations. Students will learn how to dispense medication, label pharmaceutical products and manage records. Most programs require students to complete an externship at an approved location.

Although not required, a basic understanding of algebra and chemistry concepts is helpful.

Job Outlook

Top-paying industries*
Management, scientific and technical consulting services $36,600
Colleges, universities and professional schools $36,960
Offices of physicians $37,040
Outpatient care centers $39,000
Federal executive branch $41,000

*annual mean wage per the BLS

The career outlook for graduates with an associate degree in pharmacy technology is very strong. Advancements in pharmaceutical research have led to more prescription drug use to treat diseases, fueling demand for more pharmaceutical technicians. Employment in pharmacy technology is expected to grow 32 percent, adding more than 108,000 jobs to the field by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some states require individuals to obtain certification to work as a pharmacy technician. Certification can be obtained through a number of professional organizations, including the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board, the National Healthcareer Association and the National Pharmacy Technician Association.

The median salary for pharmacy technicians is about $28,000 per year, according to the BLS.

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