Basic Pharmacy Technician Courses

The course content in a pharmacy technician program varies slightly from school to school, but overall concepts are typically the same. Here is a look at some of the more common classroom subjects studied by pharmacy technician students.

(Click to see a list of schools offering these courses.)

Pharmacology - The study of drug action. Pharmacology looks at the way a foreign chemical substance (a drug) interacts with a living organism. It also covers the source, nature and properties of pharmaceutical drugs.

Chemistry - The study of the properties, structures and natures of different types of matter. Chemistry looks at different types of molecules and how they behave by themselves and in reaction to other substances.

Anatomy – This is a branch of biology that looks at the structure of living things, and in medical practice, the human body. It can be studied on the macroscopic level (observing what can be seen with the naked eye), and the microscopic level (cells and microscopic structures). This course is common to most medical fields.

Physiology – Physiology is the study of the human organ system and how it functions in a healthy human body. This subject observes systems such as the nervous system, the musculoskeletal system, the circularoty and respiratory systems, the immuse system and others.

Medical and pharmaceutical terminology – This is the basis for the medical lexicon, and the structure by which scientific and medical words are built. These words describe the human body, diseases and conditions, treatments and drugs using word roots, prefixes and suffixes.

Pharmaceutical calculations – This course delves into the calculations related to dosing, injections, solution behavior, concentrations and other facets of prescription preparation.

Pharmacy law – The study of the state and federal laws that affect pharmacy practice and pharmaceutical drugs. The content of this type of course may vary depending on what state you’re taking the course in, though some courses may cover unique laws in every state.

Dosage forms – This subject covers the different forms medication can take, such as capsuls, pills, injections, suppositories, and others. Students learn the best methods of administering a medication based on the individual circumstances of the patient. For example, a patient who is vomiting should not take an oral capsul, and so on.

Drug preparation – Teaches the skills used in preparing medications of different kinds, including mixing and measuring, packaging and labeling. This is a skill-based subject rather than a scientific one, so course content in this area may vary from school to school.

Compounding medications – Compounding courses teach pharmacy students how to mix and create customized medications to suit patients’ specific needs. For example, if a patient needs a medication but is allergic to one of its ingredients, the medication can be customized to extract the ingredient, or alternate medications can be mixed to achieve the desired result.

Pharmacy administration – A practical course on the overall management and operations of a retail or clinical pharmacy. Courses like this may vary from school to school; some may include business and management classes, and others may provide a more skill-based education. It is smart to ask your school representative for details on course specifics.

Pharmacy computing – These courses cover computer use as it applies to the pharmacy industry, including specific programs used for inventory, record keeping and customer interactions. The content of this course may vary depending on the school.

Medical billing – The topic of medical billing includes interaction with insurance agencies and doctors, as well as the use of the universal medical coding system, which classifies each medical condition and treatment into sets of numeric codes.

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