Healthcare Topics

Which Pharmacy Program is Right for You?

Pharmacy technicians perform critical work in the healthcare system and by pursuing a career in the industry, you can expect excellent job security, great benefits and fulfilling work. There are also several options to pursue in the world of pharmacy techs, depending on your professional skills and interests.

Choosing the right pharmacy technician program comes down to weighing the costs and benefits of each option and understanding the career implications for each track. Here are the three main programs you can choose through MedCerts.

1. Pharmacy Technician Specialist

The Pharmacy Technician Specialist program track is the fastest and least expensive way to jumpstart your career as a pharmacy technician. Tuition for online certification and training is only $2,700, and the program can be completed in just 14 weeks.

Coursework includes human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, dosage calculations, and pharmacy laws. You’ll gain the knowledge and skills needed to accurately measure and prepare medications, package and label prescriptions, maintain patient records, process insurance claims, and manage inventory.

If your goal is to provide patient care in a locally-owned community pharmacy or for a retail organization like Walgreens or CVS, the Pharmacy Technician Specialist program may be a good fit for you. Retail pharmacy often pays less than other pharmacy technician career paths, but these positions are generally considered less stressful than hospital jobs, don’t usually require night shifts, and grant you more opportunities to interact directly with patients.

2. Medication Care Coordinator

The Medication Care Coordinator program allows you to prepare for both the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) and Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) certifications at the same time. At only 22 weeks long and with a tuition of $4,000, the program allows you to save time and money compared to pursuing the two certifications separately.

In addition to the coursework from the Pharmacy Technician Specialist program, the Medication Care Coordinator program includes additional classes: Medical Office Procedures and Administration, Microsoft Office Excel Levels 1 and 2, and Microsoft Office Word Levels 1 and 2.

Medication care coordinators may work behind the scenes at larger organizations such as nursing homes or mail-order pharmacies. Their responsibilities are primarily to act as a liaison between physicians, pharmacists, patients and insurance companies to improve health outcomes and patient experience.

3. Pharmacy Technician Professional

The Pharmacy Technician Professional Program culminates in two certifications: Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) and Certified Customer Service Professional (CCSP).

This 24-week program is accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and the American Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). The tuition of $4,000 includes a simulation kit and a 160-hour pharmacy technician externship.

In conjunction with the coursework from the Pharmacy Technician Specialist program, the simulation kit provides hands-on experience in prescription processing, sterile and non-sterile compounding, chemotherapy preparation, and many other vital skills. MedCerts partners with Walgreens, CVS, Kroger, and Albertsons to connect students to local pharmacies for 8-week pharmacy technician externships.

Making the Decision

When considering which certification path to take, it’s important to consider your long term career goals and desired work environment and to check the requirements of your state board of pharmacy to ensure you are meeting state requirements.

Hospitals offer top pay and excellent benefits but usually only hire certified pharmacy technicians. Retail pharmacy techs with no formal training earn $9 to $10 per hour, while those with certification can earn $13 to $15. Hospitals pay experienced pharmacy techs up to $20 per hour.

In both hospital and retail environments, pharmacy tech certifications open doors for advancement into further training and specialization in fields such as infusion, compounding, oncology, and nuclear pharmacy. Certification is also typically required for promotions into leadership positions.

All three pharmacy technician programs at MedCerts include all required materials, self-paced courses that can be adapted to your schedule, 24/7 access to the expert-led curriculum, one-on-one mentoring available during business hours, and job placement assistance after the course is completed.

Do you want to discuss your career path?

Request a FREE consultation with one of our Education Consultants.

  • Fully online training
  • One-on-one orientation and support
  • Career services
  • Exam fees included
  • Short-term programs

Financial assistance

If you are a military spouse or your training is provided through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), you may be eligible for financial assistance to cover all or some of your tuition.

“This decision is a no brainer!” —Kara B.

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