Explore a Career as a Pharmacy Technician

Take a look at the many job settings and career paths open to you if you become a pharmacy technician. This course will help you master the skills that will prepare you for and entry-level position as a pharmacy tech or clerk, and the steps you can take to become certified.

6 Weeks / 24 Course Hrs
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Course code: pht

Health care is a booming field these days, and pharmacy technicians are in high demand. In this course, you'll take a look at the many job settings and career paths open to you if you become a pharmacy technician. You'll master the skills you need to get an entry-level position as a pharmacy tech or clerk.

In addition, you'll learn about the important laws and regulations that govern pharmacies. You'll also hone your communication skills, learning how to handle customers courteously and efficiently. Finally, you'll explore the steps you can take to enhance your career prospects becoming a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT). By the time you're done, you'll be prepared to start your career in this popular and rapidly-growing field.

Note: This course is designed to give you an introduction to the profession of pharmacy technician. It will not supply enough information to sit for the national exam. If your goal is to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT), then upon completion of this introductory course, enrollment in the advanced course is recommended.

What you will learn

  • Learn basic terms for medical conditions and anatomy
  • Gain the skills you'll need to read prescriptions and patient records
  • Find out how common classes of drugs are made and how they work
  • Master the simple math that every pharmacy tech needs to know
  • Learn how to calculate dosages accurately
  • Find out how to translate metric measurements into familiar household measures like teaspoons and tablespoons
  • Understand how prescription pricing works
  • Learn about the important laws and regulations that govern pharmacies
  • Explore the steps you can take to enhance your career prospects becoming a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT)

How you will benefit

  • Hone your communication skills, learning how to handle customers courteously and efficiently
  • Learn the many job settings and career paths open to you if you become a pharmacy technician
  • Master the skills you need to get an entry-level position as a pharmacy tech or clerk

How the course is taught

  • Instructor-led online course
  • 6 Weeks access
  • 24 course hours

In this first lesson, you'll discover what it is that pharmacy technicians actually do. You'll explore the various types of pharmacies a technician can work in—there is so much more than retail stores and hospitals. The lesson will talk about the education and skills that pharmacists expect to see in a good technician. By the end of this lesson, you'll realize the many different paths that a technician can take for a successful and rewarding career in the profession of pharmacy.

In the second lesson, you'll get an overview of the science called pharmacology. You'll review the variety of ways drugs enter the human body, and explore how those drugs work once they get inside. You'll also learn how drugs can cause a positive or negative effect. A pharmacy technician who has this basic knowledge is a great asset to the pharmacist.

In this lesson, you'll walk through the major laws that dictate how pharmacies operate. This topic might sound like it could be a little dry, but it's more interesting than you think, and it's important that pharmacy technicians understand their boundaries. You'll only cover federal laws in this course, even though some states may have different statutes. You'll review the difference between the various narcotic classes, along with some examples for each one. You'll also discuss the importance of confidentiality and the penalties for violating this very important law. By the end of this third lesson, you should have an even bigger picture of what pharmacy is about and how important it is to be a very conscientious, detail-oriented person.

In this lesson, you'll go through a typical day in both a retail pharmacy and a hospital pharmacy, identifying both their similarities and their differences. When you finish this lesson, you might already have a good idea about which type of pharmacy technician you'd like to become.

Medical terminology seems like a foreign language. But, by learning about each part of the word, you can better figure out its meaning. In this lesson, you'll explore the meanings of the root words, prefixes, and suffixes that make up most medical terms and then look at the smaller components to determine what the whole word means. Abbreviations are also a big part of medical terminology, so you'll spend some time reviewing some of the more common ones used in the profession.

This lesson ventures through some of the most common antibiotics, antifungals, and antivirals, and for each category, and gives you an example or two of a patient taking that drug so that you understand what it is and gain a better understanding why the doctor prescribed it.

In this lesson, you'll discuss some of the common drugs that doctors prescribe for high blood pressure and prevention of heart attacks. You'll also go over respiratory drugs, including asthma medicines and a variety of cough and cold agents. And, you learn some of the drugs you might use to help with various stomach discomforts, like heartburn, diarrhea, and constipation.

This lesson will take a look at some drugs that control pain. You'll explore some of the narcotic drugs, migraine medications, and pain relievers that customers can buy over the counter or obtain through a prescription. You'll also spend some time going over drugs that doctors prescribe for seizures, ADD/ADHD, and Alzheimer's disease.

In this lesson, you'll dive into the world of hormones. You'll discuss drugs that doctors prescribe to treat the thyroid, control diabetes, and provide birth control. You'll also look at some common drugs that patients use for eye infections—things like eye drops and ointments. Ear infections also require medications, so you'll study some of those, too.

Next, you'll take a journey through the metric and apothecary systems of measurements as you review how math is used in the world of pharmacy. You'll begin by practicing some common conversions and calculating some dosages for prescriptions. You'll also venture into some hospital math to learn how to determine IV flow rates. The last thing you'll cover will be a little business math. It'll be helpful for you to know how to calculate the prescription price and how to figure out how much money an insurance company will reimburse the pharmacy.

This lesson discusses the many ways you communicate in pharmacy. You'll review how to communicate with your fellow employees and other professionals, and go over all the dos and don'ts of talking with customers.

In this final lesson, you'll explore the outlook for a career as a pharmacy technician. You'll also revisit the key points you've studied on this journey toward becoming a pharmacy technician, and understand the next steps to take after you complete this course.

Melissa Dunworth

Melissa Dunworth has been a pharmacy technician for over 13 years and has worked in retail, closed pharmacy, and training/education areas during her career. Melissa holds a Bachelor's degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences and works as a Developmental Specialist in Early Intervention for children ages 0 to 3 years. She has been a certified pharmacy technician since 1997. Melissa is also registered with the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy.

Instructor Interaction: The instructor looks forward to interacting with learners in the online moderated discussion area to share their expertise and answer any questions you may have on the course content.


There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.

A new session of each course begins each month. Please refer to the session start dates for scheduling.​

Once a course session starts, two lessons will be released each week for the 6 week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends. You will interact with the instructor through the online discussion area. There are no live sessions or online meetings with the instructor.

The interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes two weeks after each lesson is released, so you're encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release. However, you will have access to all lessons from the time they are released until the course ends.​

Students enrolled in a six-week online class benefit from a one-time, 10-day extension for each course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.​