Preparation for the Certified Pharmacy Technician exam can be completed in 3-10 months, and programs leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy degree last 2 to 4 years. Under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, pharmacy technicians dispense prescription and over-the-counter medication to patients, and they supply patients and health care professionals with a variety of information. Licensed pharmacists advise other health professionals on the constraints for the effective usage of prescription medication, including availability, proper dosages and side effects.
Pharmacy technician certificate programs are available through vocational schools, community colleges or university-level continuing education programs. Another option is to enroll in an Associate of Applied Science in Pharmacy Technician or Associate of Science in Pharmacy Technology program. Certificate programs are measured in either credits or course hours, and most require students to complete at least 30 credits or 50-course hours of study.
A bachelor’s degree is not a pre-requisite for admission into pharmacy school. Therefore, the length of the undergraduate phase preceding enrollment in pharmacy school depends on the degree program -– associate or bachelor’s –- a student chooses to attend.
The specific courses required for the undergraduate degree vary from school to school, and these typically include a wide range of courses in the hard sciences. However, completing the required core courses matters more to admissions boards than choosing the “right” undergraduate major.