Become a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy Technicians (PTs) ensure that the right medication gets to the right patient at the right time. Employment opportunities for PTs abound in many different types of pharmacies including retail, hospitals, long-term care, compounding, home infusion, mail order, and pharmaceutical wholesalers. PTs can also be employed in administrative capacities at insurance companies.
Pharmacy Technician Training at HCC
In less than a year, you can be ready for a new career as a Pharmacy Technician. HCC’s training meets Maryland Board of Pharmacy regulations and is typically held twice a year, in the fall and the winter/spring term. Upon successful completion of this training, you will be eligible to apply for registration with the Maryland Board of Pharmacy and to sit for the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam.
The entire program is 300 hours (140 hours of theory training and 160 externship hours), taking place over five to six months. You will earn 30.0 CEUs upon completion of the Pharmacy Technician course.
Course prerequisites include:
- A high school diploma or GED
- At least 18 years in age
- Knowledge of basic math and basic principles of algebra
- Good communication and interpersonal skills
- Basic computer data entry skills
Basic math skills and principles of algebra are extremely important because patient safety depends on the pharm tech’s ability to calculate proper doses. You will be tested for basic knowledge level at the first class and participate in a refresher overview as well as focused skill labs during scheduled classes. Students deemed severely deficient in math skills and principles of algebra are strongly urged to get training to acquire the needed proficiency.
Criminal Background Check & Drug Test
Criminal Background Check: On the first night of class, the instructor will provide the required timeframe of the criminal background check procedure. Upon scheduled date, you are required to pay approximately $65-70 by credit card or money order. A trained technician will require you to show a valid photo ID (driver’s license, state ID, military ID or current passport) and complete information forms that include address and social security number.
You will receive direct confirmation and results of your completed background check. The Maryland Board of Pharmacy will also receive the results of your criminal background check for potential processing of State Pharmacy Technician registration. You will receive instructions to apply for Maryland Board of Pharmacy Technician Registration ($45) from the instructor during class.
Drug Testing: On the first night of class, the instructor will also provide you with information on drug testing sites and locations. You are required to pay approximately $65 to take and pass a drug test at least two or three weeks prior to externship placement. More drug testing instructions will be distributed during class.
The theory training part of the program entails on-campus classroom instruction, usually on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. and select Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Classroom instruction covers:
- Prescription reading and interpretation
- Measurement systems
- Drug administration
- Generic and brand drug names
- Drug classes and uses (indications)
- Basic pharmacy calculations and conversions
- Compounding of sterile and non-sterile products
- Pharmacy operations and prescription dispensing
- Controlled substances
- Inventory control
- Billing and reimbursement
- Quality assurance
- Pharmacy law
- Medical terminology
- Use of pharmacy/medical reference sources.
You will also become acquainted with other aspects of retail pharmacy such as over-the-counter medications and third-party (insurance) billing.
You will also learn about the entire process of handling a prescription, from the time of receipt of the prescription to final dispensing of medication to the patient. The skills/demonstration labs will focus on the importance of accurate pharmacy calculations and performance demonstrations of pharmacy technician duties according to the “scope of practice” and the pharmacy technician as a member of the patient’s healthcare team.
You will be given quizzes, exams, and skill/demonstration lab exercises throughout the program as well as homework assignments. At the end of class, a comprehensive final exam (both written and practical) will be given.
An externship performing daily pharmacy technician tasks consisting of 160 hours (including a minimum of 20-25 hours per week during externship placement) at local area pharmacies is required to complete this class.
Externship eligibility is in part dependent upon a criminal background check and drug testing. Students with criminal records should check with the Maryland Board of Pharmacy and/or the PCTB to determine eligibility for certification at PTCB.org.
Current externship partnerships include:
- Harris Teeter pharmacies
- Howard County General Hospital
- Vitascript Compounding Pharmacy
To earn a certificate, you must:
- Complete Pharmacy Technician Training Theory (140 hours) and
Externship (160 hours)
- Attend all class hours and skills/demonstration labs
- Complete all homework assignments and pass all quizzes and exams
- Complete Pharmacy Technician Training Theory (140 hours) and
Tuition and fees are $2,979 for the theory training and required externship placement. This includes $2,530 in fees not eligible for waiver. Standard refund policy does not apply. Refunds issued only until the day before the class starts. No refunds on or after the class start date.
You should expect additional course costs if you live outside of Howard County.
You must register for all five theory and externship I&II sections at the same time.
Enroll in Course for the Current Term
You must register for ALL FIVE SECTIONS BELOW. The first group is for three theory sections and the second group is for externships I & II sections.
Purchase textbooks before first class.
Standard refund policy does not apply. Refunds issued only until the day before the class starts. No refunds on or after the class start date.
Cost includes the shadowing and/or practicum assignments and externship placement, Maryland Board of Pharmacy Registration, and the PTCB exam. Register early before the class fills.
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