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Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program—FAQs

What is the program, and how long does it take to complete?
The Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program is a 14 week program of instruction that prepares an individual to perform all the duties required in any pharmacy practice setting, and take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board Exam (PTCE). Participants leave the program prepared for an entry-level job as a Pharmacy Technician in retail and institutional settings.

There are 84 hours of classroom study with an additional 120-hour internship in a local, Greater Austin area pharmacy. Students are expected to complete the program in less than six months. The Professional Development Center (PDC) awards a Certificate of Completion to those participants who successfully complete the Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program.

How do I register for the Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program?
You must register for the program on the PDC Web site.

When is the deadline for applications?
The deadline for applications is usually two weeks before a course begins. However, based on seating availability, applications may be accepted right up until the first day of class. If you miss the deadline, please call Betsy Arumi with PDC at 512-232-4334 to determine whether applications are still being accepted for a particular course.

Is the number of participants in the program limited?
The program is usually limited to 20 participants per enrollment period.

Are any of the program courses offered online?
No, all courses in this program are offered in a classroom setting. This program is designed to offer an excellent teacher/student ratio that provides for higher quality courses and increased interaction with instructors. We feel the classroom setting provides better opportunities for one-on-one support for students.

Are the courses offered in the evening or on the weekend?
Yes. All of the classes in the program are offered in the evening and/or on the weekend.

What will I learn in the program?
Students will learn to prepare prescription orders under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, perform applicable pharmacy calculations, and comply with federal and state regulatory agency laws and regulations.

Program subject matter includes:

  • Pharmacy laws and ethics
  • Drug classifications and basic pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical measurements and calculations
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medical Terminology
  • Community and Hospital Pharmacy Practice
  • Compounding and Sterile IV Products
  • Employment Strategies
  • Review for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCE) Exam
  • What is the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)?
    The PTCE assesses candidates’ competence to perform the work of a pharmacy technician. The development of the PTCE and all related policies and procedures are directed by a council of expert pharmacists and pharmacy technicians that represents a diverse range of practice settings and geographical areas. PDC’s Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program prepares participants to take the exam and earn this important credential.

    Where can I learn more about the certification exam and requirements for keeping certification current?
    The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) is the entity that provides certification for students who pass this exam after completing PDC’s Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program. Most state boards of pharmacy require technicians to be certified by the PTCB within a certain period of time after registering to work as a pharmacy technician. We encourage students to apply for and take the exam immediately following the internship. To learn more about the certification exam and requirements for keeping your certification current throughout your career, visit www.ptcb.org.

    Do I have to have a college degree to apply for the program?
    Are there any college course prerequisites?
    What skills are needed?
    Enrollment in the Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program requires a high school diploma or GED. A college degree is not required to participate in the program, and there are no college course prerequisites. In addition to a high school diploma or GED, potential applicants should have knowledge of basic algebra, the ability to type 25-30 words per minute, basic computer skills and the ability to commit to a rigorous course and study schedule.

    Do I have to be currently enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin to participate in the program? Can I get college credit for this program?
    No, you do not need to be registered at the university to participate. College credits are not awarded for the Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program.

    How much does it cost to enroll in the program?
    The full cost of the entire Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program is $4,995. Included in that amount are as follows:

    • Tuition and associated fees for 84 hours of lectures and lab study
    • Internship placement in a Greater Austin area pharmacy.
    • Background Check
    • Textbooks and materials

    Costs that are NOT included in the cost of the program are as follows:

    • Internship registration as a Pharmacy Technician Trainee, $54. The State Board of Pharmacy requires that any program participant be registered as Pharmacy Technician Trainee in order to be placed in a pharmacy internship
    • Registration as a Pharmacy Technician Trainee also requires the participant be fingerprinted at approximately $45.
    • The cost of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam, $129.

    What methods of payment are accepted?
    Payments are processed through PDC. Please check with PDC at 512-471-4633 to determine acceptable methods of payment. PDC accepts checks, credit cards, money orders and cashier checks. Information about payment can also be found in the information brochures on this Web site.

    Is there a payment plan available?
    Yes. Payment plans vary with down payment amount required and number of months to pay off the balance of tuition, and are interest-free. Most programs require at least $1,000 down payment to begin the payment plan process. For more information, contact Betsy Arumi at 512-232-4334.

    Do I have to make the arrangements for the pharmacy internship myself?
    No, the program places students in a Greater Austin area pharmacy for the 120-hour internship. Students must complete the internship in 8 weeks. Instructors or other program personnel make site visits during the internship to monitor student progress.

    If I have a job at a pharmacy, can that count as my internship?
    No. Program participants are not paid for their work during internships, unless they are hired during the internship as a Pharmacy Technician. If you are hired while participating in the program internship, hours may be accepted under certain circumstances. Speak with a counselor dedicated to PDC’s Pharmacy Technician students for additional information at 1-888-824-6667.

    Why is there a background check?
    Applicants who have been convicted of any felony or drug-related crime will not be admitted to the program due to state pharmacy board requirements. Background checks are run to assure that applicants are eligible to be registered with the State Board of Pharmacy.

    What is the job outlook for Pharmacy Technicians?
    According to the US Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-2011 edition, "Employment of pharmacy technicians and aides is expected to increase by 25 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations." Graduates may find employment with local community pharmacies, hospitals, retail pharmacies, mail-order drug companies and insurance companies.

    What is a typical salary for a Pharmacy Technician?
    Hourly rates of pay vary according to location. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-2011 Edition, the median hourly wage of pharmacy technicians in May 2008 was $13.32. Of pharmacy technicians surveyed, the middle 50% earned between $10.95 and $15.88. The lowest 10% earned less than $9.27, and the highest 10% earned more than $18.98.

    Please be aware that the information above pertaining to job outlook and typical salary is provided for your information, but does not constitute a guarantee from the Professional Development Center, the Division of Continuing and Innovative Education or The University of Texas at Austin that participants in the Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program will pass the PTCE, gain employment or make salaries as described above.

    Return to the Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program page.

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