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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Pharmacy Technology

Majors Overview February 28, 2014

Although hard to find, an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree program in pharmacy technology can provide students with the basic knowledge needed to sit for national certification examinations and prepare them for the duties of pharmacy technicians.

A.A. Programs in Pharmacy Technology

Prospective pharmacy technicians can take the first step toward achieving their objective by enrolling into an associate degree program in pharmacy technology to equip themselves with knowledge and skills in pharmaceutical law, terminology and techniques.

Students enrolled in the program can also expect to become adept at handling patient paperwork and insurance claims, filling and pricing patient prescriptions, stocking and taking inventory of medication and working alongside pharmacists. Additionally, they are taught about packaging and distributing medications to patients in ambulatory care, acute care, extended care and home care settings. Students can use the coursework in an associate degree program in pharmacy technology to prepare to take the certification exam.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. Students enrolled in many schools are expected to complete courses in medical terminology, biology and chemistry, before they can enroll into the associate degree program. They may also have to submit to drug testing and/or a background check.

Coursework

Coursework in most pharmacy technology associate degree programs combines classroom lectures and technical training – students can also use the coursework as a mode of preparation for the national certification exam. Coursework may include subject areas such as:

•Principles of pharmacology
•Pharmacy mathematics
•Medical terminology
•Anatomy and physiology
•Disease processes
•Systems of the human body
•Law and ethics in pharmacy
•Use of sterile products
•Computer literacy
•Pharmacy trends

Career Choices

The program trains graduates in providing assistance to pharmacists with the daily running of the pharmacy. Graduates can choose from various employment options such as:

•Assisted living facilities
•Healthcare agencies
•Hospitals
•Mail order and retail pharmacies
•Nursing homes

Continuing Education Choices

Students who are enrolled in associate degree programs can use them as platforms before going on to enroll into advanced degree programs in pharmacy among other related health fields. After they complete the program, students need to pass the national certification exams run by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)).

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