Although some pharmacist assistants, or pharmacy technicians, complete on-the-job training programs instead of formal education, some formal courses they might take include those in human anatomy, medical terminology and pharmacology. These courses may be taken through a short-term diploma or certificate program or through a longer associate degree program, notes the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In addition to providing familiarity with the human body and types of medications, pharmacist assistant courses teach individuals to do daily pharmacy tasks, such as dispensing medications, following relevant laws and keeping records. Medical terminology courses teach how medical terms are structured and terms related to the various systems of the body. Human anatomy and physiology courses provide an understanding of nutrition, blood, tissues, cellular structure, chemistry, cellular reproduction and systems, such as the cardiovascular, urinary, skeletal and nervous systems. Pharmacology courses deal with calculating the dosage for medications, dispensing medications and understanding the reasons for using the drugs, their side effects and their interactions.
Hands-on training is a common component of pharmacy assistant courses. For those who complete educational programs, this training often happens at a community pharmacy in the form of an externship. After completing training, individuals may take a certification exam to become a certified pharmacy technician. Graduates also need to check to find out what their states require for the position since a background check, examination and continuing education are sometimes required.