We believe that choosing an online program for your pharmacy tech certification is an important, life-changing decision. Although we can’t tell you which choice is best for you, we can give you all the information you need to make your choice and get started right away on becoming a certified pharmacy technician.
Why Should I Become a Certified Pharmacy Technician?
Currently, demand is higher than ever for pharmacy technicians, and certified pharmacy technicians make anywhere from $2-$4/ hr more than pharmacy technicians without certification.
There are over 350,000 pharmacy technician jobs in the US alone, and this solid healthcare career is expected to grow 20% by the year 2022. The market is growing throughout the country, so no matter where you go, you can feel secure knowing that you’ll be able to find a position.
You can choose the type of pharmacy you want to work for, and whether or not you want to have the option to work late hours at a 24-hr pharmacy, or whether you want to limit your work hours to the average retail pharmacy hours.
How Do Online CPhT Programs Work?
The typical online course program teaches you by utilizing a wide range of delivery methods, including video lecture, interactive discussion, e-text, lectures, slide shows, and thought-provoking project and assignments.
The best part about completing your coursework online? You are no longer constrained by class-times and daytime schedules, or forced to spend time away from your home and family in order to get your certification or degree. You can get your education without putting your life on hold.
In addition to online coursework, expect to complete clinic hours and experience requirements by finding a pharmacy in your area where you can get experience hours during the course of your education. Between the coursework and the on-site experience, you will get everything you need to be a knowledgeable, experienced Pharmacy Technician with a current and up to date education in your field.
All of our listed career diploma and certificate programs are nationally accredited, so you can rest assured knowing you’re receiving top quality education and certification. Our programs prepare you for the certification exam, and certification is in top demand with pharmacy employers around the country. All programs includes prep courses and materials to get you certified quickly and thoroughly.
Courses You’ll Need
Although each program differs, you’ll find that courses cover the same material no matter where you go. In any accredited program, you’ll find courses that cover:
- Career Prep courses like Math / Computer Basics, CPR/ First Aid, Medical Terminology, Anatomy/Physiology
- Varying levels of professional courses, starting out with Intros to things like Pharmacy Math, Inventory, Ethics, and Pharmacology, Pharmacy Tech duties, Customer Service, Lab Skills, and eventually moving on to more complex levels of Pharmacy Math, Pharmacology, Computer Applications, and Chemistry.
- In addition to these courses, most programs require an externship after your first level of courses and throughout the program.
There’s Not Just One Path
It’s important to choose carefully when deciding which Pharmacy Tech program you enroll in. Programs cary, and offer different benefits and come with varied drawbacks. Programs that are accredited by ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists) will be sure to have everything (both in the coursework and the experience hours) you need to be qualified and ready to begin your externship and career as a CPhT, and to qualify to sit the CPhT exam.
The type of program that works best for you can depend on a few variables. First off, how long can you afford to spend in school? If you can afford taking 18-24 months, then an Associate’s Program is a thorough way to go to get the education you need with a higher level of training, better salary, and often more employment opportunities. The benefit to completing an Associate’s Program, too, is that once you’re done, you’re halfway to your Bachelor’s Degree if you ever need to go back and complete a Bachelor’s Degree. If you don’t have that much time to devote to it, then you can go the with a certificate or diploma route, which takes closer to 12-18 months to complete.
Three Types of Programs
- Diploma — Diploma programs take approx. 2-3 semesters, and qualify you to take the CPhT exam (if accredited). With a diploma program, you get both the course education and the clinical hours you need for externship.
- Certificate— Certificate programs are a stepping stone to Associate’s Degree programs, and also qualify you to take the CPhT exam. In addition to the basics that you’d get in a diploma program, you also become knowledgeable in administration duties, and the legal and ethics considerations of the industry.
- Associates Degree Program — With an Associate’s Degree program, you go much more in depth. In addition to certification courses, you also take basic, core education courses that not only give you a well-rounded education but also give you a solid foundation to go on to get a Bachelor’s Degree if you choose to do so. In addition to basis CPhT education you also get to learn about billing and coding, insurance, accounting, chemistry, lab procedures, and more.
When considering which program to go with, be sure to find out if your program offers certification preparation courses with the program. Most quality programs will. If, for some reason, you decide on a program that doesn’t offer a certification prep course, be sure to include the cost and time commitment of a private preparation course in your overall financial and time cost analysis.