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Pharmacy Assisting Associate's Degree Programs

Many children mistakenly frown on their parents when they hear that they are taking drugs. "Say no to drugs!" the well-meaning kids remind their parents. The parents then must sit down and explain the difference between those drugs we hear negative things about on the news and the drugs that we take will a doctor's permission to treat the maladies we experience. As children grow older they recognize the benefits of prescribed medicine and, once they finally figure out how to swallow a pill, they take on a view of drugs much like their parents. Those children might even end up at the pharmacy counters of their local drugstores, getting their much needed prescriptions filled by the pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who specialize in giving patients the specific medications they require.

pharmacy assisting schools Maybe you were one of these children, and maybe you are considering going to the other side of this pharmaceutical counter and join the ranks of the pharmacists. With an Associate's Degree in pharmacy technology or assisting, you will have the credentials that will allow you to leap over the counter and join the world of drugs (the good ones) as a pharmacy technician.


By the most basic definition, pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists with dispensing proscribed medication to patients in hospitals and retail pharmacies. But there is much more to this job than just handing bottles to people. There is an impressive range of knowledge that must be mastered; after all, even a seemingly small mistake can have disastrous consequences for patients who might be inconvenienced or even harmed by the wrong medication. An extensive array of knowledge must be acquired so that all elements of the pharmacy work effectively together to provide high-quality patient care. Small mistakes can have disastrous outcomes. Patients tend to trust pharmacies implicitly, and will take whatever pills are in those bottles that are handed to them. This is a large responsibility that requires an intelligent, educated, and conscientious individual to effectively carry out.

The day to day responsibilities of a pharmacy technician include acquiring the information from customers and physicians to fill prescriptions, count tablets and measure amounts of specific drugs to fill these prescriptions, label and package these prescriptions, perform transactions with customers, and generally maintain the pharmacy office environment by handling customers and office responsibilities. These sound relatively simple, and they are. However, they only become simple when one is highly trained to understand what details need attention in this pharmacy environment. This will enable seamless interactions between doctors, patients, pharmacists, and the materials they all handle.


Pharmacy Assisting Schools


An Associate's Degree in pharmacy technology trains individuals in all of the essential elements of this field. They are taken through the relevant sciences, including medical terminology, chemistry, and medication-specific training. Programs also include pharmaceutical mathematics, record keeping, administration, and medication dispensing. This knowledge will help pharmacy technicians remain detail-oriented, organized, and compassionate in their services to patients. On-the-job training is also common in many programs, allowing assistants to learn the job through hands-on experiences that supplement their acquired knowledge.

A pharmacy assistant essentially serves as the hands that make a pharmacy operate smoothly, providing patients with the drugs and doctors with the information they need. Pharmacies are delicate organizations that require the highest degree of attention to detail so that patients receive the correct medications and continue on their way toward better health. With your Associate's Degree in pharmacy technology, you will possess the important knowledge and training that allows you to take part in providing society with the good kind of drugs. So write yourself a prescription for a great career, and enroll today in your Associate's Degree program for pharmacy assisting.


Associate’s Degree in Pharmacy Assisting

Most AA degrees will all cover the standard general education requirements but you’ll see a difference when it comes to your core pharmacy assisting training. Below are some common courses you’ll take during your degree training.
- Pharmacology
- Pharmacy Operations
- Safety Standards
- Pharmacy Calculations
- The Human Body
- Medical Law and Ethics
- Terminology
- Customer Service


Learning Objectives and Outcomes

During your associate’s degree program you’ll take courses to get you prepared for your new career. Below are just some of the outcomes you’ll possess upon graduation.

- Enter client/patient information into a computer to process the prescription.

- Understand the top drugs and names for those drugs including generic manufacturers. This will help save the customer money if their insurance doesn’t cover certain types of drugs.

- You’ll be able to work with 3rd party billing departments. You’ll also be able to properly bill insurance company.

- Understanding of HIPPA laws and how it relates to the pharmacy you work at.

- Be able to have good communication skills with pharmacist and customers.

- Have the experience needed to maintain digital records of all orders.

- Properly use mixing and dispensing techniques for medications


Pharmacy Assisting Careers

Once you graduate with your Associate’s degree you’ll have all the experience needed to start applying for positions out in the marketplace. Below are just some of the more common areas and companies that typically hire medical assisting graduates.

Retail Pharmacies – Large retail box chains such as Target, Wallgreens and Walmart all have pharmacies and are always hiring as those companies continue to build new stores.

Extended Care Facilities – Long-term facilities often have a pharmacy on their grounds and this is often an overlooked opportunity to find employment.

Hospitals – You can always start your career at a hospital as they all have internal need for pharmacy assistants and technicians.

Nursing Homes – Like long-term care facilities a nursing home will sometimes have a pharmacy in order to take care of the needs of the patients.


Certification Exams
It is recommended that you apply to take the Pharmacy technician certification exam PTCE . Once you get pass your certification exam you’ll have access to career information including job resources.