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Pharmacy Technician

The many miracles of medication

This program is offered through North-West College.

Pharmacy Technicians are trained professionals equipped to take on a number of clerical tasks and responsibilities related to readying and dispensing pharmaceutical drugs.

An growing aging population means a greater demand for prescription medicines. Couple that with the rising rate of chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity among all age groups and you have a growing need for trained and licensed Pharmacy Technicians as well.

Become a Pharmacy Technician

The Pharmacy Technician program at North-West College offers the education and training necessary to start a career working in a pharmacy, hospital, pharmaceutical lab, and other healthcare facilities. North-West College has campuses throughout Southern California, including Anaheim, Bakersfield, Glendale, Long Beach, Pomona, Riverside, San Diego, Van Nuys and West Covina.

Pharmacy Technician
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Pharmacy Technician Overview

The Pharmacy Technician program is available through North-West College.

Pharmacy Technicians are trained professionals equipped to take on a number of tasks and responsibilities related to readying and dispensing pharmaceutical drugs. Pharmacy Technicians are generally involved in all pharmacy tasks except those which require the proficiency of a licensed pharmacist.

Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of pharmacists, with pharmacists reviewing prescriptions before they can be given to patients. In most states, technicians can compound or mix some medications and contact doctors to receive authorizations for prescription refills. Technicians may also be tasked with using automated dispensing equipment when filling prescription orders.

Pharmacy Technicians often carry out a number of vital responsibilities, including:

  • Gathering information required to fill prescriptions.
  • Measuring medications for prescriptions.
  • Packing up and place labels on prescriptions.
  • Maintaining order among the inventory and letting the pharmacists know about any medications or supplies running low.
  • Taking payments for prescriptions and handle insurance claims.
  • Logging information for customers or patients, including any prescriptions they have used, into a database.
  • Taking phone calls from patients.
  • Connecting customers with pharmacists if they have questions or concerns about medications or health issues.

The Pharmacy Technician program at North-West College can equip you with the practical skills and knowledge you need.

During the program, you will learn the tasks and responsibilities often carried out by pharmacy technicians in hospitals, retail pharmacies, and pharmaceutical laboratories, including how to do pharmaceutical calculations, process prescriptions, label medicines, handle sterile and non-sterile drug compounding, and dispense over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.

In addition, the program covers medical terminology and pharmacy-related general medicine, along with the laws and regulations over the pharmacy industry, including the FDA and DEA regulations and ethical codes of conduct.

North-West College holds accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

*North-West College is not able to guarantee employment.

The Pharmacy Technician program can be taken at the following campuses:

Pharmacy Technician CareersWork Environment

Pharmacy Technicians work under the supervision of pharmacists, with pharmacists reviewing any prescriptions before they are able to be handed to patients. In most states, technicians can compound or mix some medications and contact doctors for authorizations for prescription refills. Technicians may also be asked to use automated dispensing equipment when filling prescription orders.

Pharmacy technicians and aides work in clean, organized, well-lit, and well-ventilated areas. They are often on their feet for most of their workday and may be asked to lift heavy boxes or use stepladders to get supplies from high shelves. Pharmacy technicians and aides typically have varying schedules that include nights, weekends, and holidays. In 24-hour facilities, such as hospital pharmacies, technicians and aides may be asked to work nights. A number of technicians and aides work part time. Graduates of the program often find employment at:

  • Pharmacies and drug stores
  • Medical and surgical hospitals
  • Compounding laboratories
  • Grocery store pharmacies
  • And other health care related facilities.

Quick Facts about Pharmacy Technicians*

  • Employment of Pharmacy Technicians is expected to increase by more than 9 percent in California over the next 10 years, much faster than the average for all occupations.
  • Pharmacy Technicians mainly find employment in pharmacies, including those found in grocery and drug stores. Some find jobs in hospitals or other health care facilities. Pharmacy Technicians typically spend the majority of the workday on their feet.
  • Pharmacy Technicians may asked to carry out a larger role in pharmacy operations because pharmacists are increasingly taking on additional patient care activities such as administering flu shots.
  • As the number of people with health insurance continues to rise and more individuals have access to insurance coverage, additional Pharmacy Technicians will be required to manage their prescriptions.
  • The majority of Pharmacy Technicians work full time. Since pharmacies may be open at all hours, some pharmacy technicians may be required to take on shifts at night or on the weekends.

*Source: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm For more information, including median wages and the job outlook for Pharmacy Technicians in California, see the California Occupational Guide published by the State of California Employment Development Department. For the most up to date national information, please visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Pharmacy Technician Course Material

The Pharmacy Technician training program at North-West College is a practical, career-based program that aims to equip you with the skills required to start a new career working as a Pharmacy Technician. The program is broken down into eight class course modules, along with a 240-hour clinical internship—where students have the chance to put the skills they learned in the classroom into practice in a real health care setting.

Courses for this program include:

  • Seminar for Success – This course offers career students an orientation and includes tips for succeeding in the program. It includes a review of basic math, language, vocabulary, and writing skills. It also introduces students to core career classes, explains the availability of community resources, and goes over outlining, summarizing, managing credit, and other life skills.
  • Drug Distribution – In this course, students cover trade/generic drugs, along with a basic review of math. The material also includes the use of electrolytes in the pharmacy, how to use drug dosage forms, and how to compound medicines. In addition, students will learn to use balances, measuring devices, and other pharmacy equipment. Lastly, they will cover how to fill cassettes and the different drug distribution systems (unit dose vs. traditional).
  • Admixture I – Along with building on their knowledge of trade/generic drugs, and basic math, this course covers the different working conditions and schedules technicians have, along with the variety of tasks technicians must know how to handle. Students will be taught aseptic technique along with an introduction to working with vertical and horizontal flow hoods.
  • Admixture II – Students will dive into aseptic technique and go over additional responsibilities technicians are tasked with taking on. The course will also cover how to make sterile IV additives, how to administer chemotherapy drugs, and additional material related to working with vertical and horizontal flow hoods.
  • Pharmacology – This course includes instruction on trade/generic drugs and basic math, along with the Theory of Molecular Combination and basic anatomy. Students will cover where different classes of drugs act on the body and the typical reason and dosage for using that classification of drug. Course material also includes medical terminology and Arabic and Roman numerals.
  • Retail/Communications – Students will cover the history of the pharmacy, and study effective communication techniques and theories along with different ways of speaking with professionals and patients. Curriculum includes pharmacy law, information related to the Uniform Controlled Substances Act and Drug Schedules, an introduction to the apothecary, and Avoirdupois and Metric Systems. They will also learn how to transcribe doctors’ orders, type pharmacy labels, and price prescriptions. Information related to Third Party, Medi-Cal, and Medicare Insurance Billing for Prescriptions, along with verifying insurance and maintaining accurate pharmacy records will also be presented.
  • Home Health/Closed Door – Students will cover significant numbers, diabetes drugs and treatment, and Celsius and Fahrenheit temperature conversions. The course also includes the types of durable medical equipment pharmacies supply, drugs and treatment for AIDS, how to configure body surface area, compounding, and hormone replacement therapy.
  • Career Seminar – This course includes an internship workshop along with career readiness workshops. It also offers a New Student Orientation and CPR Certification.
  • Clinical Internship – This is the hands-on, practical internship where students have the opportunity to put what they have learned in the classroom into practice in a real health care setting.
Pharmacy Technician Course Activities

As a Pharmacy Technician, your duties may involve: receiving incoming prescriptions, transcribing doctors’ orders, calculating medication doses, using drug distribution systems, preparing IVs, packing up and labeling medications, filling patient cassettes, and interacting with patients. The best part is you can take your career skills with you wherever you go.

Pharmacy Technicians often carry out these responsibilities:

  • Gathering information needed to fill prescriptions from customers or health professionals.
  • Measuring drug amounts for prescriptions.
  • Performing sterile and non-sterile drug compounding.
  • Packing up and placing labels on prescriptions.
  • Maintaining inventory and letting pharmacists know if medications or supplies are running low.
  • Taking payment for prescriptions and handling insurance claims.
  • Logging customer or patient prescription information.
  • Taking customer phone calls.
  • Connecting customers with pharmacists to answer any questions or concerns about medications or other health matters.

Other nursing and health care training programs at Glendale Career College with campuses in Bakersfield, San Diego and Glendale, California near Burbank, Los Angeles, Pasadena and Hollywood:

Check out other programs and courses available at Glendale Career College here.

The Pharmacy Technician program is available at the following campuses:

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