The Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program is designed to prepare students for employment in most pharmacy settings, ranging from community and hospital pharmacy to home health pharmacy. Specific training includes the following: pharmaceutical calculations, state and federal laws, IV admixture, prepackaging, inventory control, pharmacy terminology, pharmacology, computer applications, and the practice of pharmacy.

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Degrees and Certificates

Pharmacy Technician - Certificate Level II

Allied Health/PharmacyTechnicianTrack - AAS

Program Information

A Career in Pharmacy Technician

A Pharmacy Technician provides technical services that do not require professional judgment regarding the preparation and distribution of drugs.  Pharmacy technicians always work under the direct supervision of and are responsible to a licensed pharmacist.  All work performed by a pharmacy technician must be verified for accuracy by a licensed pharmacist.

Responsibilities, Duties & Competencies of Pharmacy Technician frequently include:

  • Compounding sterile and non-sterile pharmaceuticals
  • Packaging and re-packaging medications
  • Utilizing and maintaining various types pharmacy technology
  • Performing pharmaceutical calculations
  • Preparing and maintaining prescription orders
  • Distributing and delivering medications
  • Providing great customer service
  • Maintaining patient privacy

The practice of pharmacy is continually changing to meet the needs of society.  As a result, the pharmacy technician’s role is also changing.  Pharmacy Technicians are being relied upon more & more to perform the routine day-to-day functions which free the pharmacist to spend more time providing clinical support to the patient and other healthcare team members.  Therefore, educated, highly skilled and well trained pharmacy technicians are essential to the successfully function of the pharmacy.

Admission Steps

Are you ready to start the application process for Pharmacy Technician? Click here to download the admission steps.

Accreditation Information

The Pharmacy Technician certificate program conducted at HCC Coleman College for Health Sciences, Houston, Texas, is accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

As a student and graduate of the HCC Coleman College Pharmacy Technician certificate training program, accreditation by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) is important for several reasons. Accreditation ensures that you are receiving the training and skills that reflect the national standard. Employers recognize that the education you received meets ASHP standards which translate into a well-trained and highly skilled pharmacy technician. Also, as a graduate from an ASHP accredited program, you will meet the Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP) requirements for IV certification.


The curriculum of the HCC Pharmacy Technician program is based on the following 45 ASHP educational goals which are categorized into 9 distinct domains:

Personal/Interpersonal Knowledge and Skills

  • Demonstrate ethical conduct in all job-related activities
  • Present an image appropriate for the profession of pharmacy in appearance and behavior
  • Communicate clearly when speaking and in writing
  • Demonstrate a respectful attitude when interacting with diverse patient populations.
  • Apply self-management skills, including time management, stress management, and adapting to change.
  • Apply interpersonal skills, including negotiation skills, conflict resolution, and teamwork.
  • Apply critical thinking skills, creativity, and innovation to solve problems.

Foundational Professional Knowledge and Skills

  • Demonstrate understanding of healthcare occupations and the health care delivery system.
  • Demonstrate understanding of wellness promotion and disease prevention concepts, such as use of health screenings; health practices and environmental factors that impact health; and adverse effects of alcohol, tobacco, and legal and illegal drugs.
  • Demonstrate commitment to excellence in the pharmacy profession and to continuing education and training.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills in areas of science relevant to the pharmacy technician’srole, including anatomy/physiology and pharmacology.
  • Perform mathematical calculations essential to the duties of pharmacy technicians in a variety of contemporary settings.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the pharmacy technician’s role in the medication-use process.
  • Demonstrate understanding of major trends, issues, goals, and initiatives taking place in the pharmacy profession
  • Demonstrate understanding of non-traditional roles of pharmacy technicians
  • Identify and describe emerging therapies.

Processing and Handling of Medications and Medication Orders

  • Assist pharmacists in collecting, organizing, and recording demographic and clinical information for direct patient care and medication-use review.
  • Receive and screen prescriptions/medication orders for completeness, accuracy, and authenticity.
  • Assist pharmacists in the identification of patients who desire/require counseling to optimize the use of medications, equipment, and devices.
  • Prepare non-patient-specific medications for distribution (e.g., batch, stock medications)
  • Distribute medications in a manner that follows specified procedures.
  • Practice effective infection control procedures, including preventing transmission of blood borne and airborne diseases
  • Assist pharmacists in preparing, storing, and distributing medication products requiring special handling and documentation [(e.g., controlled substances, immunizations, chemotherapy, investigational drugs, drugs with mandated Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS).
  • Assist pharmacists in the monitoring of medication therapy.
  • Prepare patient-specific medications for distribution.
  • Maintain pharmacy facilities and equipment, including automated dispensing equipment.
  • Use material safety data sheets (MSDS) to identify, handle, and safely dispose of hazardous materials.

Sterile and Non-Sterile Compounding

  • Prepare medications requiring compounding of sterile products.
  • Prepare medications requiring compounding of non-sterile products.
  • Prepare medications requiring compounding of chemotherapy/hazardous products.

Procurement, Billing, Reimbursement and Inventory Management

  • Initiate, verify, and assist in the adjudication of billing for pharmacy services and goods, and collect payment for these services
  • Apply accepted procedures in purchasing pharmaceuticals, devices, and supplies.
  • Apply accepted procedures in inventory control of medications, equipment, and devices.
  • Explain pharmacy reimbursement plans for covering pharmacy services.

Patient- and Medication-Safety

  • Apply patient- and medication-safety practices in all aspects of the pharmacy technician’s roles
  • Verify measurements, preparation, and/or packaging of medications produced by other healthcare professionals (e.g.,tech-check-tech)
  • Explain pharmacists’ roles when they are responding to emergency situations and how pharmacy technicians can assist pharmacists by being certified
  • as a Basic Life Support (BLS) Healthcare Provider.
  • Demonstrate skills required for effective emergency preparedness.
  • Assist pharmacists in medication reconciliation.
  • Assist pharmacists in medication therapy management.

Technology and Informatics

  • Describe the use of current technology in the healthcare environment to ensure the safety and accuracy of medication dispensing.

Regulatory Issues

  • Compare and contrast the roles of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in ensuring pharmacy department compliance with professional standards and relevant legal, regulatory, formulary, contractual, and safety requirements.
  • Maintain confidentiality of patient information.

Quality Assurance

  • Apply quality assurance practices to pharmaceuticals, durable and non-durable medical equipment, devices, and supplies.
  • Explain procedures and communication channels to use in the event of a product recall or shortage, a medication error, or identification of another problem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Employment Trends & Wages

Pharmacy technicians have a variety of employment opportunities inside and outside the Houston area.  They can be employed by hospitals, retail pharmacies, clinics, homecare, long-term care, mail order pharmacies, and drug manufacturers.

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) projects a 29.3% increase in pharmacy technician job openings in the Gulf Coast Region.  Between 2010 and 2020, TWC expects 330 annual pharmacy technician job openings with 205 openings due to replacement while 125 are openings due to growth in the field.   The average salary of a pharmacy technician in the Gulf Coast area is $15.41 per hour.

Source: www.texasworkforce.org

Location

Pay
Period

2011

10%

25%

Median

75%

90%

United States

Hourly

$9.89

$11.69

$14.10

$17.22

$20.38

Yearly

$20,600

$24,300

$29,300

$35,800

$42,400

Texas

Hourly

$10.89

$12.69

$14.90

$17.43

$19.76

Yearly

$22,700

$26,400

$31,000

$36,300

$41,100

National Data Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Survey
State Data Source: Texas Wage Information

HCC, Coleman College for Health Sciences and the Pharmacy Technician Program does not guarantee, implied or otherwise, that graduates of the program will find employment in the Pharmacy Technician field.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the HCC Coleman College for Health Sciences Pharmacy Technician Program, the student should be able to:

  1. Perform the calculations necessary to accurately prepare pharmaceutical products for dispensing in retail, home care and hospital pharmacy practice settings
  2. Demonstrate professional behavior, maintain confidentiality, and practice safely within the scope of practice of the pharmacy technician in retail, home care and hospital practice settings
  3. Process prescriptions and prepare pharmaceutical products for dispensing in compliance with current legislation, established standards and policies and procedures in retail, home care and hospital pharmacy practice settings
  4. Assist the pharmacist in optimizing medication therapy management and product distribution using current technologies in retail, home care and hospital pharmacy practice settings
  5. Demonstrate proper USP <797> aseptic technique in the compounding and preparation of sterile products
  6. Demonstrate the entry level pharmacy technician didactic competencies necessary to pass the PTCB certification exam.

Essential Functions

The essential functions outline reasonable expectations of a student to participate and be potentially successful in the Pharmacy Technician Program and in the profession. The pharmacy technician student must be able to function in a variety of classroom, lab and/or clinical situations while maintaining the essential competencies of pharmacy technicians. These requirements apply for the purpose of admission and continuation in the program.

Click here to download and reviw the Essential Functions for the Pharmacy Technician program.

Program Costs

In addition to tuition and fees, the student should expect to pay for the following costs that will be incurred to meet program and clinic requirements for the certificate program:

Semester 1

In-District

Books

$250.00

TSBP Technician Trainee Registration

$100.00

Uniform (3 pair of Ceil blue scrubs)

$105.00

Certified Background Check/Drug Screen

$120.00

Physical Exam

$100.00

Vaccinations

$400.00

Medical Insurance

$150.00

Parking (4 months)

$320.00

 

*Approximate Total Semester 1

 

$1545.00

 Semester 2

 

Books

$250.00

TB Test / Vaccinations

$200.00

Medical Insurance

$150.00

Uniforms (2 pairs scrubs)

$  70.00

Parking (4 months)

$320.00

PTCB Exam

$129.00

TSBP Technician Registration

$100.00

 

Approximate Total Semester 2

 

$1219.00

Total Program Costs*
(In addition to Tuition and Fees)

 

$2764.00

 

*All costs are approximate and subject to change at any time

To calculate that approximate cost of tuition and fees for the pharmacy technician program, go to www.hccs.edu and search for “tuition calculator.”

Program Requirements

Certified Background Check

The Pharmacy Technician Program utilizes the company “Certified Background Check” (CBC) to perform additional background checks and as the depository for all required clinic paperwork.  All pharmacy technician students are REQUIRED to use Certified Background Check.  Beginning 9/1/2014, pharmacy technician applicants are required to purchase and pass the background check BEFORE they are allowed to register for any pharmacy technician course.

Students log-on to the certified background website and create a profile.  The student must pay a $120 fee, which includes the student’s 21-panel drug screen.  Once the fee is paid, the student will then submit &/or upload all required paperwork (physical forms, vaccination records, TSBP registration, medical insurance, etc) directly to Certified Background Check.  The Pharmacy Technician WILL NOT accept any clinic paperwork.  ALL paperwork must be submitted directly to the CBC.  Directions for use of the CBC service will be given to the student during new student orientation.

Click here for directions on how to purchase a certified background check account for the pharmacy technician program.

Other Clinical Requirements

After acceptance and before being placed into clinic, the student must complete and pass a 21-panel drug screen, physical exam and all required vaccinations must be up-to-date.  No student will be placed into a clinic site until they meet ALL clinic requirements listed below:

 

Physical Exam

Students must complete a physical exam on the HCC Coleman college physical exam form

Medical Insurance

Students must show proof of medical insurance for the duration of pharmacy technician clinical courses: PHRA 1260, 1261, 2260 &/or 2261

21-Panel Drug Screen

The student must take and pass a 21-panel drug screen.  Drug screens are purchased as part of a Certified Background Check package.  See above.

 

Vaccinations

Tetanus

Booster within last 10 years

Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)

Must show proof of 2 doses or proof of immunity by serologic confirmation

Varicella Zoster (Chicken Pox)

Proof of 2 doses or proof of immunity by serologic confirmation.  Positive history is NOT accepted.

Seasonal Flu

Required if vaccine is available

Meningitis

Required if student younger than 22 years &/or it has been more than 5 years since the last booster

TB Skin Test

Mantoux skin test, IGRAs blood test or chest x-ray. TB testing is only valid for 6 months.  Students will have to submit a new TB test before being placed into PHRA 2260 & PHRA 2261.

Hepatitis B

Proof of 3 doses of vaccine or proof of immunity by serologic confirmation.

 

Texas State Board of Pharmacy Technician Trainee Registration

Texas state law requires all students to register with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP) and obtain “active” registration as a Pharmacy Technician Trainee prior to beginning clinical rotations.  When registering with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy, a federal criminal background check and fingerprinting will be performed on each applicant.  If the student has a criminal record they may be put on a pending status and will not be allowed to register for clinical until the pending status is lifted and the student is granted Registration.

It is against the law for any person to function as a pharmacy technician in any pharmacy setting without proper TSBP registration.  Therefore, the Pharmacy Technician Program WILL NOT place a student into any clinical site without valid TSBP Pharmacy Technician Trainee Registration under any circumstances.  TSBP makes all decisions on technician trainee registration.  HCC, Coleman College, or the Pharmacy Technician program have no say on whether an applicant is granted trainee status.

To be eligible for TSBP registration, applicants must have a valid social security number.  Students who are denied registration and/or not granted registration will not be allowed to continue in the Pharmacy Technician Program and may not be allowed future re-admission into the program.  Go to http://www.tsbp.state.tx.us/Pharmacytechs.htm  for more information on pharmacy technician trainee registration.

Texas Work Requirements for Pharmacy Technicians

After completing pharmacy technician training (certificate or MSA), a student seeking employment in Texas as a pharmacy technician must meet the following 3 criteria:

  1. They must be nationally certified as a pharmacy technician. To achieve this, the student must pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification exam given through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).   To be eligible for the PTCB exam, a candidate must  satisfy the following eligibility requirements
    1. High school diploma or equivalent educational diploma (e.g., a GED or foreign diploma).
    2. Full disclosure of all criminal and State Board of Pharmacy registration or licensure actions.
    3. Compliance with all applicable PTCB Certification policies.
    4. Passing score on the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam
    5. A candidate may be disqualified for PTCB Certification upon the disclosure or discovery of:
      1. Criminal conduct involving the candidate;
      2. State Board of Pharmacy registration or licensure action involving the candidate;
      3. Violation of a PTCB Certification policy, including but not limited to the PTCB Code of Conduct.
    6. PTCB reserves the right to investigate criminal background, verify candidate eligibility and deny certification to any individual.
    7. Once certified, certified pharmacy technicians (CPhTs) must report any felony conviction, drug or pharmacy-related violations, or State Board of Pharmacy action taken against their license or registration at the occurrence and at the time of recertification, to PTCB for review. Disqualification determinations are made on a case-by-case basis.  For more information on the PTCB exam, you can go to www.ptcb.org
  2. They must register with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP) as a pharmacy technician. To be eligible for TSBP registration, the applicant must have a valid social security number.  To get registered, the applicant has to complete a criminal background check and be fingerprinted. For more information on TSBP pharmacy technician registration, you can go to http://www.tsbp.state.tx.us/Pharmacytechs.htm  . A person that is not registered as a pharmacy technician is not allowed to work in any pharmacy in the state of Texas.  See the last page of this handout for TSBP Pharmacy Technician Registration sanctions.
  3. To prepare sterile IV products in the state of Texas, the pharmacy technician must be IV certified.  When a student graduates from the pharmacy technician certificate program, they meet the requirements for IV certification, because the certificate program is accredited by ASHP.  Note:  retail MSA students are not IV certified upon completion of their 
The student is responsible for all costs associated with registration, certification, drug screens, physical exams, vaccinations, transportation, etc.
 

Pharmacy Technician Program Dismissal Policy

Violation of HCC, Coleman College or the Pharmacy Technician policies may result in the dismissal of a student.   A pharmacy technician student will be dismissed from the program if they are found to have violated any of the following pharmacy technician polices:

  • Behavior – Professional
  • Confidentiality
  • Injuries & Needle sticks
  • Safety
  • Standards of Practice
  • Academic Dishonesty
  • Weapons

Examples of other types of behavior that may lead to corrective action and/or immediate dismissal from the Pharmacy Program include:

  • Offensive, harassing, abusive, disrespectful, insulting or vulgar language and/or gestures
  • Damage, abuse or theft of HCC, Coleman College, pharmacy technician program or any clinical affiliate property
  • Insubordination, including willful negligence or refusal to perform tasks in the manner assigned by instructors, instructional support specialists, preceptors, clinical supervisors, or other authority figures
  • Time clock violations or excessive tardies and absences
  • Fighting, threatening violence or horseplay (which may result in injury)
  • Sleeping or giving the appearance of sleeping.
  • Physical or psychological negligence to faculty, classmates, staff, patients, or guests.
  • Failure to follow instructions and/or policies and procedures which may result in serious consequences.
  • Sexually suggestive behaviors and/or actions.
  • Any possession, use, distribution or abuse of alcohol, un-prescribed drugs, narcotics, or illegal substances on college or clinical property.
  • Not following HCC, Coleman College, or the Pharmacy Technician policies, procedures, guidelines or regulations.
  • Disregard for established safety practices in the classroom, lab, or clinic settings
  • Failure to protect self, peers, faculty, staff, and patients from actual or potential physical and health hazards.

Failure to disclose any health disorder (physical or psychological) that could potentially interfere with your being able to professionally perform in any academic, laboratory or clinical setting