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Pharmacy Colleges: The Path to Becoming a Pharmacy Technician

By Brendan Conway updated on Tuesday, February 05, 2013

So, you want to be a pharmacy technician? Good for you! Especially if you're looking into pharmacy colleges.

See, pharmacy technicians do not actually have to get specialized degrees, as there is no national requirement that pharmacy technicians be accredited with degrees. Pharmacists do need to have PharmD degrees from graduate level pharmacy schools, but pharmacy technicians will often receive most of their training and education on-the-job, as opposed to in a pharmacy college.

But! That being said, if you're interested in becoming a pharmacy technician, and you decide to spend time at a pharmacy college in order to get some level of formal technical education, it'll only do you good, both in terms of increasing your actual skills as a pharmacy technician, and in terms of increasing your chances of getting a job in the field.

What's involved in going to pharmacy colleges?

Pharmacy colleges do not generally require a tremendous amount of time, and require nowhere near the 4 years that pharmacy schools for pharmacists would require. Instead, pharmacy colleges for pharmacy technicians require somewhere between 6 months and 2 years of study.

A pharmacy college program would be primarily oriented towards subjects associated with pharmaceutical practice, including learning pharmaceutical terminology, recordkeeping practices necessary for a pharmacy, techniques necessary for working in a pharmacy, and the laws and ethics involved in pharmaceutical practice.

Pharmacy colleges would also teach students the names and effects of the many drugs with which pharmacy technicians work on a regular basis.

Immediately upon graduation from a pharmacy college, a student should be able to enter into the profession of pharmacy technician.

A lot of pharmacy colleges would require students to relocate in order to attend the pharmacy college programs in person. This isn't always necessary, however; if you want to learn more on how you might pursue a pharmacy college education without relocating, check out some information on online pharmacy technician schools.

What can I get from attending a pharmacy college?

Pharmacy colleges might provide their students with additional programs, outside of the classroom, to give them hands-on experience. Providing internships with local pharmacies is one of the most prominent ways that pharmacy colleges help students to get such hands-on experience.

Pharmacy colleges will ultimately grant some form of diploma, associate's degree, or certificate to students who complete their programs.

Students who attend pharmacy colleges for pharmacy technicians will be much more likely to find employment easily in the competitive market for pharmacy positions.

Pharmacy technicians must be registered with the state in which they work, but they do not need to be certified, although they can pursue voluntary certifications which would increase their employability. Any pharmacy colleges they attend would prepare them for pursuing such certifications.

If you're interested, you can find information on the average pharmacy technician salary after the link.

The bottom line for pharmacy colleges

All in all, anyone interested in following the path to becoming a pharmacy technician should be well aware that pharmacy college studies are not necessary for the career path, but would be a great advantage.

Furthermore, pharmacy colleges will do a good job of preparing would-be pharmacy technicians for later progressing further up the ladder, which most often means entering into pharmacy school programs at the graduate level, to earn PharmD degrees and become pharmacists.

This is because attending a pharmacy college program for becoming a pharmacy technician will actually make a student a much more attractive applicant for a PharmD degree, so if you're thinking of someday going for that doctoral degree, then starting with a pharmacy college program for pharmacy technician training is a good idea.

Find out more about graduate-level pharmacy schools that offer PharmD programs after the link.

See Pharmacy Colleges on Peterson's
About the Author

Brendan Conway is the Web Content Editor for Peterson's Interactive and is well-versed in the world of higher education and admissions. He is a graduate of Hamilton College, and has been working in admissions advice, test-prep advice, career planning advice, and similar fields for the majority of his career since graduation. Brendan endeavors to provide the most relevant, useful, and interesting information via Peterson's Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ feeds. Brendan enjoys lexicological oddities and voraciously reading in his free time.

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