Best Online Pharmacy Technician Programs

Millions of Americans depend on local pharmacies for medications and supplements in order to remain healthy, active and productive. Pharmacy Technicians (also called assistants or aides) play a crucial role at these facilities by providing support to pharmacy staff, coordinating administrative tasks and performing essential clerical duties.

Pharmacy assistant online training is one way to break into this rewarding industry. Students in pharmacy assistance programs learn skills related to customer service, bookkeeping and inventory management. They are also introduced to prescription labeling systems, computer database programs and different digital platforms used in pharmacies nationwide. Requirements vary for this occupation: while an associate’s degree is widely accepted for entry-level work, some employers may also accept a certificate in pharmacy assisting, which is typically offered as a one-year program through accredited learning institutions. Pharmacy assistant courses online may be accompanied by practicum sessions or other on-site components.

Below, you’ll find our list of the country’s best online associate programs for prospective pharmacy assistants. Each school is ranked according to academic strengths, learning positive student outcomes, course offerings and virtual classroom experience for online learners. If you are considering working as a pharmacy assistant and appreciate the convenience of the online learning format, this comprehensive list will serve as a good starting point in your search for suitable associate-level programs.

2016 Online Education Trends Report: Learn how online programs are changing the face of higher education.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description    
1

Sinclair Community College

 1/511.8%Dayton, OH

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Sinclair offers an online advanced pharmacy technician certificate, comprising a 10-course program in both distance-delivered academics and occupational training. Coursework in the 30-32-credit program introduces students to healthcare delivery methods, medical terminology, biology, and communications, among other core subjects. The certificate program also incorporates a directed practice course, designed to provide real-world pharmacy technician experience. Pharmacy assistant online training courses at Sinclair also provide preparation for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board Exam.

Distance learners applying to the online pharmacy assistant program at Sinclair are required to have taken several developmental learning prerequisite courses for this major. Students can access courses through the online student portal page. Though academic requirements can be satisfied online, a significant portion of the program must be completed through a non-paid directed practice component, totaling 105 hours of experience in the field. Students must undergo a state and federal background check before beginning field practice.

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2

North Central Missouri College

 1/532.53%Trenton, MO

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NCMC offers an AAS pharmacy technician degree, featuring online and hybrid learning options. Distance learners may take the bulk of their courses online, though a mandatory pharmacy tech internship is required in the second year of the program. Curriculum emphasizes applied science concepts, and students will be introduced to anatomy and physiology, terminology, communication, and medical ethics training. Coursework comprising the 60-credit program also includes a two-section pharmacy practice course to simulate field experience.

Applicants to the pharmacy assistant online training program at NCMC should have a high school diploma or GED equivalent for consideration. Students with prior experience and in good standing at their previous school may be eligible for advanced standing status. Placement testing may be required to determine whether a student is eligible to opt out of prerequisite developmental studies courses that are required of this degree. Online coursework is delivered through MyCompass for AAS pharmacy technician candidates.

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3

Hutchinson Community College

 1/527.16%Hutchinson, KS

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Hutchinson’s pharmacy technician program incorporates hybrid course delivery of both general education support and technical concepts. Students will learn how to prepare medications, review patient records, and instill accuracy procedures. The 33-credit-hour program can be completed in three semesters for full-time students, and is designed to ultimately lead to a pharmacy technician certificate at HCC. Coursework combines academic courses taught online with on-site lab and practical clinical experience. The program requires completion of a practicum in the final semester, during which the student must sit for the national Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination.

Applicants must have no drug-related felony convictions to participate in the practicum. Depending on the student’s individual college experience prior to applying at Hutchinson, fulfillment of certain prerequisites may be required in order to enroll in core courses. Students in this pharmacy assistant online training program must complete supplemental customer service and English composition courses to fulfill academic requirements. Online coursework can be accessed through the DragonZone student portal page.

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4

University of Alaska Anchorage

 2/525.04%Anchorage, AK

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UAA offers an occupational endorsement certificate (OEC) in pharmacy technology. The online program comprises six pharmacy assistant courses developed using the Model Curriculum for Pharmacy Technician Training standards. Coursework teaches students to assist in preparing prescription medication orders and refills, use computerized pharmacy systems, and communicate effectively with their supervisory team. Graduates of the 16-credit program are prepared to sit for the national Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam.

UAA’s online certificate program is open to high school diploma-holders who are at least 18 years old. Non-certification-seeking students may also take individual courses online in this major. Online coursework is delivered through Blackboard and requires a grade of “C” or above in each course for certificate fulfillment. Though not required, proficiency in math, keyboarding, and computer skills are helpful to OEC applicants.

Special Notice to Residents of Alabama, Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, New York, or North Carolina:
Residents in these states who seek to enroll in University of Alaska (UA) online programs and/or complete an internship in their home state related to UA enrollment need to be aware of special requirements. If you are residing in one of the these states and you anticipate enrolling in an academic program, entailing either online courses or an internship, at one of the three UA universities below, you must first contact the UAA Registrar.

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5

Minnesota State Community and Technical College

 2/533.08%Fergus Falls, MN

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Hybrid pharmacy assistant online training programs at M State are available in two options: a 60-credit AAS degree or 36-credit diploma in pharmacy technology. Both options combine online coursework with on-site labs at the school’s Wadena campus. Students in the AAS program take foundational sciences courses and learn computer and professional skills for reading patient records, inputting drug orders, printing prescription labels, and filling prescriptions for medications. Providing similar curriculum, the diploma program is designed to facilitate a smooth transition into the AAS degree.

AAS pharmacy technology applicants at M State must pass a full background check to be considered for admission into the program. Students who do not pass the background check may still be considered, though they will be ineligible to complete practicum requirements. Online coursework is delivered asynchronously through Desire2Learn via the e-campus. Students with no prior higher learning experience may be required to complete developmental learning prerequisites in reading, math, and writing to assess their college placement status.

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6

Allen County Community College

 1/537.06%Iola, KS

Allen Community College offers an AAS pharmacy technician degree totaling 60 credit hours over four semesters. Program coursework explores not only medical terminology and computer concepts and applications, but also interpersonal communication, psychology, and customer service. ACC also incorporates unique nutrition and herbal healing courses into the curriculum. Distance learners may choose electives from business, health and physical education, and fine arts and humanities topics.

Applicants to the pharmacy technician program at ACC must submit high school and/or college transcripts and placement test scores. Students are encouraged to contact a student advisor regarding other program requirements and to discuss a personalized study track in this major. Online coursework is delivered through Blackboard learning management system.

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7

Kirtland Community College

 1/517.48%Roscommon, MI

Kirtland offers a two-semester career certificate in pharmacy technology totaling 20 program credits and 25 contact hours of study. Students in this program must participate in a two-part pharmacy tech course and complete an internship to satisfy core curriculum. Upon completion of the certificate, students are prepared to seek out the additional supervised internship hours needed for entry-level employment, as well as to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board National Certification Exam.

Applicants to Kirtland’s pharmacy assistant online training must satisfy prerequisites in math, reading, and writing. Prospective pharmacy technology students must have a high school diploma or GED equivalent to apply to the program. Felony drug convictions will render a candidate ineligible to complete the requirements of the certificate, and accepted students will be subject to a drug test before starting the internship component. Online coursework is delivered through Canvas learning management system. Students must maintain at least a “C” grade in all courses to successfully complete the program.

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8

Vincennes University

 2/522.79%Vincennes, IN

Vincennes University offers a two-year pharmacy technician program leading to an AS degree. Students will complete 60 course credit hours in accounting, human anatomy and physiology labs, interpersonal communications, and computer concepts, among other core requirements. They must complete a practicum experience and five hours of electives courses as well.

Graduates will meet minimum training requirements for employment in Indiana, and will be prepared to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board National Certification Exam. A certificate of program completion in this major is also available.

Pharmacy assistant online training applicants must first be accepted through the school’s general application process then submit a secondary application specific to this program. Applicants must be free of any felony convictions and must pass a drug screening provided by an approved vendor. Online coursework is delivered asynchronously through Blackboard learning management system.

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9

Great Falls College Montana State University

 1/518.02%Great Falls, MT

Great Falls College MSU offers a pharmacy technician certificate comprised of 28 total course credits, including online academics and an on-site clinical component. Students learn how to prepare medications and fill prescriptions, perform clerical duties, and use computerized equipment commonly found in the industry. Graduates are prepared to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board National Certification Exam.

Enrollment into the pharmacy assistant online training at GFCMSU is limited to outstanding candidates; the program typically accepts around 23 students per year. To apply, students must successfully complete math and writing prerequisites. Candidates must first be accepted into GFCMSU before filling out a secondary application for this program. Applicants must be current GFCMSU enrollees in good standing, and at least 18 years of age for consideration. Coursework is delivered through D2L Brightspace online learning platform.

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10

Barton County Community College

 1/527.96%Great Bend, KS

Barton County Community College offers pharmacy assistant courses online, resulting in a completion certificate upon 29 hours of course credit. The program includes online coursework in pharmacy operations, medical terminology, customer service, and advanced English, in conjunction with a required internship experience. Students learn the combined administrative and technical skills needed for entry-level employment in the industry. Graduates are prepared for Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT) national certification exams.

BCCC’s online pharmacy assistant certificate is designed to be completed in two semesters. To apply, students must show evidence of a high school diploma or GED equivalent. They must also submit their GPA and any prior college experience. Students may enroll in online courses before being formally accepted at BCCC. Coursework can be accessed through a single login portal at BARTOnline.org.

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Students who complete pharmacy technician online training are prepared to enter the field in key administrative positions. An associate degree can also be a springboard for additional education, as well as potential opportunities as a pharmacy technician or head pharmacist. Some of the most common career paths for pharmacy assistants with associate degrees include the following roles:

Pharmacy Aide: Pharmacy aides usually require an associate degree or certificate in pharmacy assistance in order to be considered for paid positions. Aides are charged with performing a wide range of clerical and administrative tasks at their pharmacy. Unlike pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, pharmacy aides are not qualified to handle medications directly.

Pharmacy Technician: Technicians help pharmacists dispense medications to customers. These technicians may find work at retail or wholesale pharmacies. While formal education is an advantage for prospective pharmacy technicians, qualifications for the job vary from state-to-state. Depending where you work, you may need more than an associate degree, and you might have to undergo a criminal background check as part of the hiring process.

The following table shows the median annual salaries for both positions listed above, as well as projected growth rates for that career path over the next 10 years.

PositionMedian Annual SalaryProjected Growth Rate
Pharmacy Aide$25,5404%
Pharmacy Technician$29,8109%

Many students find the online format convenient, particularly distance learners with full-time jobs or childcare responsibilities. Others enjoy the flexibility of following an asynchronous schedule and completing pharmacy assistant courses online. If you are interested in being educated and certified as a pharmacy assistant, an online associate degree offers a rewarding, alternative path toward a successful career in this rewarding field.