To properly learn to work with prescription medications inside a pharmacy, students can gain a higher education. Students that have a desire to enter the pharmacy industry may receive online training. Several colleges and universities offer students the chance to study and become pharmacy technicians or pharmacists.
The two main educational paths have students completing very different training programs. Becoming a pharmacy technician requires a lot less time in study than that of a pharmacist. To prepare for a pharmacy career students should decide if they want to become technicians or pharmacists.
Pharmacy technicians may be taught how to support a pharmacist by completing on-the-job training. More employers in today’s growing field however prefer to hire those that have completed a formal education. The best educational training program is provided at the associate’s degree level. Students gain a complete understanding of what it means to be a technician. The job duties are explored through specific courses that teach students how to prepare prescriptions, label containers, and more. Online courses may include:
Students explore the different measurements and calculations used in the profession. The main goal is to teach students how to read and calculate the correct dosage for a prescription.
Technicians maintain the office and prepare insurance claims and patient profiles on a regular basis. In order to do these activities students need to be comfortable with the industry’s technology. Students study medical office administration, database management, up-to-date record keeping, and medication pricing.
Students that want to become pharmacists are required to complete a doctor of pharmacy degree program. This program has replaced the bachelor’s degree level of education. The PharmD is a six-year program that trains students how to mix ingredients and advise patients on medicine use. Before admittance to a program students are required to have at least two years of pre-pharmacy study completed. These typically include courses in biology, chemistry, and physics. Many students who enter a PharmD degree first complete an associate’s degree program. This makes it an easy transition for students that are currently working as pharmacy technicians to enter education. Some online schools offer students pre-pharmacy programs to prepare them for further education. Online courses may include:
Education centers on providing students with the knowledge to interact with other health professionals. The dosage and side effects of prescription drugs are learned so students understand how to correctly mix medications, which is commonly referred to as compounding. To enter a career as a pharmacist obtaining licensure is required. Students will take the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam upon completion of the program. Forty-four states also require students to complete the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam. Another law exam is required by the remaining eight states. Students should research their states exam requirements to ensure proper licensure is gained.
A pharmacy career can be entered when students complete the proper training. Students should decide which level of education is for them and start the learning process today by enrolling in a program that is accredited by an agency like the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). Accreditation is provided to programs that offer the best pharmacy training available.
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Renata McGee is a staff writer for PETAP.org. Locate Online Pharmacy Schools as well as Campus Based Pharmacy Colleges at PETAP.org, your Partners in Education and Tuition Assistance Programs.