Are you interested in becoming a pharmacy technician but want to know more about what they do, the educational topics in the Pharmacy Technology diploma and degree program, and the skills you will need to possess to become a successful pharmacy technician?
What a Pharmacy Technician Does
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technicians help pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers. Pharmacy technicians work in retail pharmacies and hospitals. Pharmacy technicians typically do the following:
- Collect information needed to fill a prescription from customers
- Measure amounts of medication for prescriptions
- Properly package and label prescriptions
- Organize inventory and alert pharmacists to any shortages of medications or supplies
- Accept payment for prescriptions
- Process insurance claims
- Enter customer or patient information into a computer system
- Answer phone calls from customers
The Pharmacy Technology Diploma Program
The Pharmacy Technology diploma program is designed to prepare students to become pharmacy technicians. A Pharmacy Technician supports licensed pharmacists in a wide variety of activities including, but not limited to, ordering, stocking, and packaging prescriptions and over the counter medications; inventory control; maintaining records; preparing medication labels; and preparing insurance claims. The curriculum will focus on the following:
Medical Terminology – language used to precisely describe the human body, its components, processes, conditions and procedures performed upon it.
Anatomy – the study of the structure and relationship between body parts.
Physiology – the study of the function of body parts and the body as a whole.
Medical Law & Ethics – system of laws and moral principles that apply to the practice of clinical medicine.
Pathophysiology – the disordered physiological processes associated with disease or injury.
Pharmacology – the branch of medicine focused on the use, effects and modes of action of drugs.
Microbiology – the branch of science that deals with microorganisms.
Pharmacy Operations and Claims - designed to instruct the student in the overall operation of a pharmacy. The course reviews gathering and entering patient information into a data processing system and maintaining patient records. Instruction is given in preparing labels, counting, measuring, admixing of drug products, ordering, stocking, and returning pharmaceuticals. Insurance guidelines, Medicare and Medicaid regulations, and insurance billing, both electronic and manual, are presented to the student.
Compounding Aseptic Techniques – set of practices performed in a clinical setting to prevent the spread of pathogens and create a sterile environment while preparing medication.
Non-Sterile Compounding – preparation of medication doses for patients to drink, swallow, insert or apply to the skin.
Computer Applications – software used to bill insurance, process claims, schedule appointments and do general administrative tasks.
College Math – the mastery of algebra to fill and compound medication.
Internship – the position a student works as in an organization while they are still training or attending college. This is typically unpaid work that is used to gain work experience or satisfy requirements for a qualification.
The Pharmacy Technology Degree Program
In the Pharmacy Technology Associate of Science Degree Program, graduates are provided the opportunity to learn pharmacy technician practices/ethics, pharmacy terminology and calculation, microbiology, pharmacy operations and claims, compounding aseptic technique & non-sterile compounding. The pharmacy technology student will be provided the opportunity to prepare to work as a pharmacy technician in a retail pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, clinical pharmacy, nursing home, doctor’s office, or home health care agency. In addition to the diploma curriculum, the Pharmacy Technology degree program curriculum will focus on:
Public Speaking – the process of performing a speech to a live audience. With increased interaction with patients, the pharmacy technician should have good communication skills.
Critical Thinking – the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement.
Problem Solving – the process of finding solutions to difficult or complex issues.
Psychology – the scientific study of the human mind and its functions.
The Pharmacy Technology Bachelor of Science Degree Program
The Health Care Administration - Pharmacy Technology Bachelor of Science Degree Program is designed to provide students with the knowledge necessary to successfully manage health care organizations and services. The program focuses on teaching key business administration techniques, while tailoring those learned skills to the health care industry. Successful students will gain the practical, real-world knowledge needed to be successful in the health care industry. Upon completion of the Health Care Administration - Pharmacy Technology Bachelor of Science Degree program, the student is prepared for entry-level employment in hospitals, physicians offices, nursing and residential facilities, home health care centers, and related occupations. The curriculum will focus on the following:
Personal Finance – the financial management performed by an individual or small group to budget, save and spend monetary resources over time.
Interpersonal Communication – the process of exchanging information, feelings and meaning through verbal and non-verbal messages.
Health Care Management – the field related to leadership, management, and administration of public health systems.
Occupations in Health Care – a class that reviews the different occupations in the health care field including pharmacy technicians.
Health Care Communications – the study and practice of communicating promotional health information including education between doctor and patient.
Health Care in the United States - a class that reviews the health care field in the United States as it pertains to pharmacy technology.
Information Technology in Health Care - a class that reviews information technology in the health care field as it pertains to pharmacy technology.
HR Principles and Practice in Health Care - a class that reviews human resources principles and practices in the health care field as it pertains to pharmacy technology.
Essentials of Managed Health Care - a class that reviews the essentials of managed health care as it pertains to pharmacy technology.
Cultural Diversity in Health Care - a class that reviews the cultural diversity of managed health care as it pertains to pharmacy technology.
Public and Community Health - a class that reviews the public and community health as it pertains to pharmacy technology.
Health Psychology – the study of psychological and behavioral processes in health, illness, and healthcare.
Leadership and Professional Development – process of improving and increasing capabilities through access to education and training opportunities.
Budgeting in Health Care – the process of creating a plan to spend money.
Ethical and Legal Aspects of Health Care - a class that reviews the ethical and legal aspects of health care as it pertains to pharmacy technology.
Health and Disease Trends - a class that reviews health and disease trends in the field of health care as it pertains to pharmacy technology.
Planning & Marketing for Health Care Organizations - a class that reviews planning and marketing for Health Care Organizations as it pertains to pharmacy technology.
American History - a class that reviews American history in the health care field as it pertains to pharmacy technology.
Political Science - a class that reviews political science in the health care field as it pertains to pharmacy technology.
Technology & Society - a class that reviews technology and society in the health care field as it pertains to pharmacy technology.
Earth Science - a class that reviews earth science in the health care field as it pertains to pharmacy technology.
Introduction to Sociology - a class that reviews sociology in the health care field as it pertains to pharmacy technology.
Skills of a Successful Pharmacy Technician
Customer-service skills - Pharmacy technicians spend much of their time interacting with customers, so being helpful and polite is required of pharmacy technicians.
Detail oriented - Serious health problems can result from mistakes in filling prescriptions. Although the pharmacist is responsible for ensuring the safety of all medications dispensed, pharmacy technicians should pay attention to detail so that complications are avoided.
Listening skills - Pharmacy technicians must communicate clearly with pharmacists and doctors when taking prescription orders. Pharmacy technicians must listen carefully to understand customers’ needs and determine if they need to speak with a pharmacist.
Math skills - Pharmacy technicians need to have an understanding of the math concepts used in pharmacies when counting pills and compounding medications.
Organizational skills - Working as a pharmacy technician involves balancing a variety of responsibilities. Pharmacy technicians need good organizational skills to complete the work delegated by pharmacists while at the same time providing service to customers.
Ready to become a pharmacy technician? At Daymar College, our Pharmacy Technician degree program can give you the skills, training and knowledge you'll need to handle the responsibilities of working as a pharmacy technician. Contact Daymar College today to see how you can get started!