The certified pharmacy technician program at the University of Providence teaches students to meet the needs of the pharmacy industry over six consecutive months. Everything from course structure to program layout is designed to prepare qualified pharmacy technicians by giving them the skills they need to succeed in a rapidly growing, understaffed industry.
Not only is becoming a certified pharmacy technician a great way to break into an entry-level healthcare field but can lay the groundwork for an advanced career as a pharmacist, lab technician, medicine technologist, and more.
Why Become A Pharmacy Technician?
A career as a certified pharmacy technician offers many benefits to those who are interested in entering a more technician aspect of the medical profession. Certified pharmacy technicians work throughout the healthcare continuum to ensure that patients receive their medications – whether that be through a local pharmacy, chain pharmacy, medication service, or at a hospital or other care facility. Technicians often work alongside fellow certified pharmacy technicians and pharmacists to make, prepare, package, and maintain medications.
In addition to these responsibilities, pharmacy technicians also provide customer service to patients picking up their medicines. In these cases, certified pharmacy technicians must be able to provide direct services to patients by providing them with medications, handling their insurance information, and answering questions about their medications.
Key Pharmacy Technician Skills & Concepts
Certified pharmacy technicians must command a strong understanding of math and science skills and concepts, as they are the core foundation of the pharmacy technician practice. While specific job responsibilities and tasks will vary by position, certified pharmacy technicians must be studious, attentive, and possess strong communication skills.
The curriculum for the pharmacy technician program lays out these foundations while helping to build students skills in the core responsibilities required of today’s certified pharmacy technicians. Graduates of the program will be able to perform the following:
- Compounding intravenous (IV) solutions
- Delivering medications to and from satellite pharmacies
- Restocking automated medication dispensing systems
- Mixing and dispensing orally administered medications
- Unit-dosing tablets from a bulk bottle
- Receiving, confirming, and preparing prescription orders
- Answering customer questions about medications
- Managing medication inventory and performing organizational tasks
University of Providence Pharmacy Technician Program Overview
Through the University of Providence Pharmacy Technician Certificate program, students can spend as little as 24 weeks, or six months, preparing to become a certified pharmacy technician. The layout and structure of the program’s courses are designed to set a strong foundation of knowledge students can build upon while setting aside time to emphasize specific competencies required for job success.
Courses are broken into three eight-week sessions administered over two semesters. Students complete two sessions in the first semester totaling 16-weeks and a final 8-week sessions in the second semester. In total, students will take six courses over the 24-week period.
First Sixteen-Week Sessions
During the first 16-weeks of the program, students take four online courses focusing on the foundations and fundamentals of pharmacy and pharmacy technician practice, including:
- Medical terminology
- Basic and advanced dosing calculations,
- Patient protections and confidentiality
- Business and patient communication
- Sterile and non-sterile compounding
- Pharmacy workflow
- Prevention of medical errors
- Pharmacy inventory management
During the first 16-week session, students also participate in weekend skill labs designed to help students apply the skills they’ve learned through coursework in an in-person setting. Skill labs introduce students to simulated pharmacy environments where they can get their first hands-on interaction with course learning material.
Students are able to work alongside fellow students, ask instructors questions, and further discover how skills can be applied in the pharmacy setting. Additionally, students also take a 4-hour AIDS safety training course required as part of the pharmacy technician curriculum.’
Second Eight-Week Session
During the second 8-week session, students will complete an exam-prep course and a required pharmacy technician internship, both being crucial steps required for certified pharmacy technician to enter the field.
By completing the Pharmacy Technician internship, students gain a better understanding of the daily functions of a pharmacy with the opportunity to get hands-on experience working directly with within the pharmacy technician scope of practice. Not only does the internship provide tangible skills and experience required of certified pharmacy technicians but prepares them to meet certification requirements.
Exam-Prep & Certification
During the pharmacy tech exam-prep course, students take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) offered through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). The course prepares students to sit for the nationally recognized PTCB exam by reviewing questions, concepts, and scenarios. Upon completion of the pharmacy technician certification course, graduates can sit for and earn their national certification through the PTCB, a requirement for practicing as a pharmacy technician in some states.
Start Your Journey to Becoming a Pharmacy Technician
Students interested in becoming a certified pharmacy technician can enroll in the University of Providences Pharmacy Technician program during fall (August) or spring (January) intakes. Enrollees must reside in either Montana or Washington, one of the states where our skill labs are hosted. As part of the program, students can also enroll as a traditional or earn-while-you-learn student. More information on these options, including admission requirements and deadlines can be found online.