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Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs

Article Sources
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2015-16, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed February 2018, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2015-16, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
  • School pages, accessed February 12-14, 2018: Pharmacy Technician Program, Allen Community College, https://www.allencc.edu/index.php/future-students/academics/2-uncategorised/1365-pharmacy-technician-program; Learning Outcomes, Pharmacy Technician, Sheridan College, https://academics.sheridancollege.ca/programs/pharmacy-technician/learning-outcomes; Pharmacy Technology (Diploma), Vance-Granville Community College, https://www.vgcc.edu/healthsciences/pharmacy-tech/course-sequence; Pharmacy Technology, Foothill College, https://www.foothill.edu/pharmtech/programs.html; Pharmacy Technician For-Credit, West Los Angeles College, http://www.wlac.edu/Allied-Health/Pharmacy-Technician/Pharmacy-Technician-For-Credit.aspx; Pharmacy Technician, West Los Angeles College Westside Extension, http://westside.wlac.edu/index.cfm?method=templates.CustomTemplatePreview&ContentID=147&; Pharmacy Technology Diploma Program, Atlanta Technical College, http://www.atlantatech.edu/academics/programs/pharmacy-technology/pharmacy-technology-diploma-program/; Atlanta Technical College Online Courses, Education To Go, https://www.ed2go.com/atlantatech/SearchResults.aspx; Pharmacy Technician, Turtle Mountain Community College, http://www.tm.edu/academics/associate_of_applied_science/pharmacy_technician/; Dayton Area Campus (College in Dayton Area), American National University, https://www.an.edu/locations/dayton-oh/; Pharmacy Technician Diploma, American National University, https://www.an.edu/programs/pharmacy-technician/; Pharmacy Technician Associate's Degree, American National University, https://www.an.edu/programs/pharmacy-technician-associates/; Virginia College in Florence, SC, Virginia College, https://www.vc.edu/locations/florence/; Pharmacy Tech Training, Virginia College, https://www.vc.edu/diplomas-certificates/pharmacy-technician/; Pharmacy Technician, Laurel Technical Institute, https://www.laurel.edu/healthcare/pharmacy-technician; Pharmacy Technician Program, Lakeshore Technical College, https://gotoltc.edu/academics/programs-of-study/pharmacy-technician-program/index.html; Employed Pharmacy Technician Certificate, Lakeshore Technical College, https://gotoltc.edu/academics/certificates/employed-pharmacy-certificate/; Pharmacy Technician, Hawaii Technical College, http://hmi.edu/pharmacy-technician.html;
  • 21 Liberal Arts Colleges With the Lowest Student-Faculty Ratios, U.S. News and World Report, Jordan Friedman, April 19, 2016, accessed February 12, 2018, https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/the-short-list-college/articles/2016-04-19/21-liberal-arts-colleges-with-the-lowest-student-faculty-ratios
  • Pharmacy Technicians, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed February 12, 2018, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm
  • Professional organization pages, accessed February 12, 2018: Member Benefits, National Pharmacy Technician Association, http://www.pharmacytechnician.org/Member%2DBenefits/; Membership, American Association of Pharmacy Technicians, https://pharmacytechnician.com/membership/; Why Join NCPA?, National Community Pharmacists Association, http://www.ncpanet.org/join-renew/why-join-ncpa;
  • Franklin D. Boyce Scholarship, John Randolph Foundation, accessed February 12, 2018, http://www.johnrandolphfoundation.org/ScholarApp/SchIndiv.cfm?SchID=5
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Accurate and precise pharmaceutical work is an important part of a well-oiled health care system, and it isn't only pharmacists themselves who bear that responsibility. Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists in a variety of ways, working to make sure each patient gets the medicine they need to get well.

Pharmacy tech degree programs typically last between one and two years, depending on the study track you choose. Certificate and diploma programs don't take as long to complete, but associate degree plans also provide general education credits that can transfer to bachelor's programs if you choose to continue your education after spending some time in the workforce.

If you're thinking about moving into the health care field but don't have space for college in your day-to-day schedule, look into online pharmacy tech degrees. Online degrees for pharmacy tech students typically allow you to complete assigned work at your own pace and may take less than a year to finish.

Best Colleges For Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs 2018-19

We gathered data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) on hundreds of technical, career and community colleges to find out which ones were the top destinations for aspiring pharmacy technicians. Tap the methodology button for some detail on how we calculated the scores and rankings, and read on below for our list of the ten best colleges for pharmacy tech degree programs.

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Methodology
1Vance-Granville Community College+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
8

Our No. 1 school overall also took the No. 1 spot in the flexibility category, offering placement services for graduates, weekend/evening degree plans for on-campus students and an online student body that encompasses nearly 53 percent of all enrolled students. Vance-Granville Community College also boasts a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, close to 20 percent better than the average ratio of 16:1 at national universities.

The pharmacy technology diploma program at this North Carolina institution focuses on career-specific subjects of study but does contain at least one general education course on its curriculum each semester. The suggested degree path takes three full-time semesters to complete, beginning in the fall and ending with a 12-credit summer session.

Additional Info
2Foothill College+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
12

Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California, reported the second-lowest average tuition of any school that made our list, charging students a total of just over $1,550 in 2015-16. It was also the second-largest school in our top ten, awarding a total of 1,365 degrees in 2015, and it posted a graduation rate that only one other school on our list could beat.

The Silicon Valley school offers two different program approaches for pharmacy technology students. The certificate plan and the associate degree plan each require the same 52 credits of core coursework, but students seeking an associate degree must also complete a general education track that brings their total number of earned credits to 90 or higher.

Additional Info
3West Los Angeles College+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
2

The most affordable tuition and fees of any school in our top ten can be found at this Culver City institution, where students in 2015-16 paid just $1,220 on average for their basic enrollment expenses. It also had the second-highest proportion of students who took at least some of their classes online, reporting distance education enrollment of more than 48 percent in 2015.

West Los Angeles College provides a few different paths for pharmacy tech students. The for-credit program can lead to either a certificate of achievement or an associate degree, depending on how you choose to approach your study, while the Westside Extension career training plan confers no college credit but can be completed in as little as 9 months.

Additional Info
4Atlanta Technical College+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
11

As the largest school to make our list, awarding more than 2,300 degrees in 2015, Atlanta Technical College may provide the right atmosphere for students who like the hustle and bustle of a busy campus. Conversely, students looking to split their class time with partially online pharmacy tech degrees may find what they're looking for here as well -- more than 45 percent of students take at least some of their classes via distance education.

ATC's pharmacy technology diploma program is laid out as a four-semester study plan that features 47 credit hours of occupation-specific coursework, 9 hours of general education classes and a five-hour practicum. Students must pass a background check and maintain a 2.0 grade point average or better.

Additional Info
5Turtle Mountain Community College+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
4

Just three other schools on our list posted lower average tuition rates than Turtle Mountain Community College, where the NCES reports that students paid a mean figure of $2,250 for the 2015-16 academic year. The Belcourt, North Dakota, institution also had a comfortable student-faculty ratio of 11:1, taking the No. 3 spot in that category among schools that made our list.

The pharmacy technician program at TMCC leads to an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree and consists of 65 credit hours of coursework, of which general education classes make up between 35 and 40 percent. Occupational subjects studied include medical terminology, pharmaceutical calculations, sterile product preparation and pharmacology.

Additional Info
6American National University - Dayton+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

American National University is a private, for-profit, nationally distributed chain of institutions that maintains campuses in six states. It was one of the smallest schools we looked at in this analysis, awarding just 45 total degrees in 2015, and had the lowest student-faculty ratio (6:1) of any institution in our top ten.

Campus-based students at the Dayton location of ANU can enroll in the school's pharmacy technician diploma program, which features an off-site externship at a working hospital or retail pharmacy. If you're seeking online degrees for your pharmacy tech studies, ANU offers both the diploma program and an associate degree plan through its distance education extensions based in Virginia and Tennessee.

Additional Info
7Virginia College in Florence+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Our No. 7 school made its mark on the flexibility category by offering alternative tuition payment plans for students, placement services for graduates and certain entire degree plans that can be earned exclusively through weekend and evening courses. The Florence, South Carolina, campus of Virginia College also featured our list's highest proportion of pharmacy tech students among its 2015 graduating class.

The non-degree program for pharmacy tech students at this national chain of for-profit institutions is designed to teach you how to prepare and label prescription medications, transcribe doctors' orders and interact effectively with patients. Classes alternate their delivery method between traditional and distance education, so students seeking partially online pharmacy tech degrees may find the type of program they're after.

Additional Info
8Laurel Technical Institute+
ADMISSION RATE
78%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

This Sharon, Pennsylvania, institution is the second-smallest school in our top ten -- it graduated fewer than 100 students in 2015, according to the NCES -- which can be an effective environment for student success. Just three other schools in our top ten had a higher graduation rate than Laurel Technical Institute, another private, for-profit school, which may be due in part to its low student-faculty ratio of 8:1.

Laurel's pharmacy technician study plan is designed to provide a mix of classroom-based academic work, practical experience and laboratory time that prepares you to work in just about any type of pharmacy facility. The program here leads to a diploma and features a 150-hour internship section.

Additional Info
9Lakeshore Technical College+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$30
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
14

Spending on instructional expenses like course development and classroom technology can mean the difference between a cutting-edge education and one that's behind the times. This public, non-profit school in Cleveland, Wisconsin, set aside a larger percentage of its annual budget for instructional expenses than any other school on our list and posted a graduation rate in the top 30 of all pharmacy tech schools nationally.

The technical diploma program for pharmacy techs at LTC is similar to many other offerings on our list, lasting through two terms of full-time study and focusing on essential occupational skills. The 17-credit certificate plan is designed for working pharmacy techs who want to add some pharmaceutical theory and history training to their vocational knowhow.

Additional Info
10Hawaii Medical College+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

This private, for-profit school in Honolulu posted the highest 2015 graduation rate in our top ten, reporting to the NCES that better than four out of five students earned their degrees within 150 percent of their expected time to completion. Hawaii Medical College also topped our list for the proportion of its annual budget set aside for academic support expenses like counseling and career services.

Students at HMC study medical ethics, customer service, anatomy and physiology, medical insurance billing and retail and hospital pharmacy practice, along with other customary pharmacy tech courses. The externship -- a section in which students earn college credit for training in a real-world pharmacy -- requires 225 hours of supervised work.

Additional Info

Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs and Common Career Paths

It may be possible to start a career as a pharmacy technician without first completing any formal education, but employers often prefer candidates who take the time to earn a degree or certificate before breaking into the field. Here's some info about the different academic paths available.

Certificate or Associate Degree In Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy tech programs that lead to an associate degree typically require 24 months of full-time study before graduation and include courses in general education subjects like history, psychology and literature. Certificate programs, on the other hand, may take less than a year to complete and contain little if any coursework in general education subjects.
Pharmacy technicians
work in hospitals and retail pharmacies to help pharmacists fill prescriptions, manage customer data and organize the inventory of medicines and supplies

Career Outlook for Pharmacy Tech Majors

Knowing what to expect from the career market can save you from some of the potential surprises of the post-graduation job search. Take a look at these job growth projections for pharmacy tech careers, calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

NOT WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR?

Financial Aid and Scholarships in Pharmacy Tech

Scholarships and other financial aid options for pharmacy tech students are typically offered at the state or regional level, such as the $2,500 Franklin D. Boyce Scholarship available in Eastern Virginia. Here's a quick list of scholarships and other student aid that can be applied to pharmacy tech degree programs.

Translational Research Grant
Applicant must hold an M.D., Ph.D., or equivalent degree. Applicant must be working in a domestic or foreign nonprofit organization, such as a college, hospital, laboratory, etc. Applications from LLS awardees, minority, and women investigators are encouraged. Selection is based upon novel approaches relevant to the treatment of hematopoietic malignancies. Proposals must be conceptually and rationally based upon molecular, cellular, or pharmacologic lab studies. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$100,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

March 1 (preliminary application); March 15 (full application)

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewals for the fourth and fifth year are based upon a non-competitive progress report reviews and attendance to annual progress report meetings.

Predoctoral Research Training Fellowship
Applicants must be full-time graduate students pursuing a Ph.D. degree in neuroscience, physiology, pharmacology, psychology, biochemistry, genetics, nursing, pharmacy or other related areas; have a dissertation research project; have a qualified mentor who can supervise the project and have access to resources to conduct the project. The project must be in the U.S. and its territories. The award is based on the quality of the dissertation project, relevance to epilepsy, the applicant's qualifications, the mentor's qualifications and the quality of the proposed environment. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Varies

 

 

Islamic Development Bank Loan Program
Applicant must be a United States citizen or permanent resident who is under the age of 24 and has confirmed admission into a professional degree program. Applicant must be majoring in one of the following areas of study: agriculture, dentistry, economics, engineering, food technology, forestry/fishery, media, medical technology, medicine, nursing, nutrition, pharmacy, political science, social science, or veterinary medicine. High academic achievement and financial need are required. Recipient must not be in receipt of any other loan. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$15,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

February 15

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient continues to qualify academically per transcript.

AACP-AFPE -Burroughs Wellcome Fund Pharmacy Faculty New Investigators Program Grant
Applicant must have earned terminal degrees in his or her discipline, have a full-time primary academic faculty ACPE-accredited appointment in a school or college of pharmacy, hold the rank of assistant professor, and be in the first to fifth year of his or her academic appointment. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$12,500

APPLICATION DEADLINE

June 6

 

 

Professional Organizations

Membership in the NPTA includes access to members-only events and discounts and a subscription to an industry magazine and newsletter
Pharmacy tech students can join the AAPT for just $15 and take advantage of free or discounted continuing education classes after graduating
Pharmacists, students and pharmacy technicians alike can take advantage of this network of more than 22,000 members nationwide
Article Sources
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