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Pharmacy Technician Schools

Health care is a booming industry, and pharmacy technicians are expected to be in high demand over the next decade. These technicians assist the licensed pharmacists who dispense medication to patients, and according to national data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these careers are expected to have excellent growth. Students who are interested in this profession can begin with these answers to common questions about pharmacy tech programs.

Which careers in the field are projected to grow at the fastest rate?

Positions for pharmacy technicians are expected to grow faster than the national average, according to the BLS. Pharmacy technicians can expect job growth of 20 percent nationally from 2012 to 2022, much of it attributed to the rising number of baby boomers facing chronic conditions that require regular medications. In addition, recent changes brought about by federal health insurance reform are expected to lead to more individuals having insurance, which in turn is expected to boost the number of people seeking medical treatment -- including prescriptions. For more information on career options in the industry, visit the website for the National Pharmacy Technician Association.

What makes a good pharmacy technician program?

When it comes to ensuring the best educational experience, accreditation is an absolute must. Accreditation means that an institution or program meets requirements of competence, assuring students are receiving a quality education and the proper skills to work toward success in their chosen careers. The American Society of Health System Pharmacists accredits pharmacy technician programs that include at least 600 hours of instruction over the span of 15 weeks or more. Before enrolling in a program, make certain the accreditation has been obtained.

Are there internships for aspiring pharmacy technicians?

Aspiring pharmacy technicians can pursue a certificate program or an associate's degree for entry-level work, but hands-on experience also makes a strong impression on potential employers. Major pharmacy chains, such as Walgreens or CVS, often offer internships that students enrolled in a pharmacy technician program can apply for. Smaller pharmacies might also have internship programs in place. Once a student is enrolled in a program, the search for internships can begin with inquiries to local pharmacies and applications to national chains with established programs.

Are there financial aid resources available for students?

In some cases, financial aid might be available for those who choose to pursue a pharmacy technician program, depending on their needs or eligibility. Students can begin by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to see if they qualify for any aid, which may include one or more of the following:

  • Direct Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • Pell Grants
  • Federal Work-Study

Keep in mind that in most cases, the school or program must be accredited in order for enrolled students to receive federal funding. State and local programs might also be available, offering scholarships, grants or loans to qualifying students who are pursuing higher education.

Why are pharmacy technician programs well-suited for working professionals?

Working professionals who want to earn a degree or boost their job prospects in a growing field can look to pharmacy technician programs. Since many of these programs can be taken entirely online, those who are already working full-time have the benefit of taking courses on a flexible schedule that doesn't interfere with work or family obligations. For those who already work in the medical field, earning the certification as a pharmacy technician might enhance a resume or potentially open doors to new positions within the health care industry.

How can you receive additional information about pharmacy technician schools or programs?

To learn more about what pharmacy technician schools offer, begin by narrowing down the options. Choose among a traditional classroom setting, hybrid program and online options. Check into accreditation and potential financial aid. Look for listings online of different pharmacy technician schools and programs, and finally, contact the admissions office of the chosen schools to learn more about the application process.

Sources:

Accreditation, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists,
http://www.ashp.org/menu/Accreditation.aspx

Pharmacy Technicians, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jan. 8, 2014,
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm

"About the Profession," National Pharmacy Technician Association,
http://www.pharmacytechnician.org/en/cms/?831

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