Did you know there is a faster than average job outlook for pharmacy technicians? That means the projected increase in pharmacy tech jobs is higher than the average for all occupations overall.
Another benefit of getting into the pharmacy technology field is there are significant opportunities for advancement. As we shared in a previous article, U.S. News & World Report has indicated that upward mobility among pharmacy technicians ranks above average.
Interestingly enough, a number of colleges that offer pharmacy technician training also offer pharmacy management degrees geared for aspiring or existing pharmacy techs who are determined to take on more responsibility or rise up the ranks.
Pharmacy Technician Diploma vs. Pharmacy Management Degree
There are similarities and differences between a pharmacy technician diploma/certificate and a pharmacy management degree. For the purposes of this article, a pharmacy management degree refers to an Associate-level degree within the field of pharmacy technology.
While not one pharmacy tech school is exactly like another, a number of colleges offer both a Pharmacy Technology Certificate / Diploma AND an Associate of Science / Associate of Applied Science Pharmacy Management degree. The former type of program is shorter (i.e. one year or less) while the associate degree is generally two years.
Students that complete the shorter pharmacy technician program can often transfer those credits towards their associate degree. (And those that complete an associate degree may be able to transfer some credits towards certain Bachelor degrees down the road.)
You might also like to take pharmacy technician continuing education (CE) courses related to management practices and skills (or even take non-pharmacy management courses and workshops geared for general audiences).
Both the certificate/diploma and associate degree programs naturally teach students about how to perform pharmacy technician tasks and about the pharmacy as a workplace. Generally an associate pharmacy management degree, however, is designed for those who want to take on more advanced roles.
For example, Mattia College in Miami Florida shares how its Diploma in Pharmacy Technology program is designed to help grads secure “entry-level” employment, whereas its Associate of Science in Pharmacy Management program is “designed to prepare students for employment as a Senior/Lead Pharmacy Technician, Pharmacy technician Coordinator, Pharmacy Manager/Supervisor trainee, drugstore/pharmacy managers, and purchasing managers and to provide supplemental training for persons previously or currently employed in these occupations.”
Another Florida school, Seminole State College, states it’s A.S. Pharmacy Management program “prepares students for a career as a pharmacy technician specialist.”
Chemeketa Community College in Oregon describes some of its Pharmacy Management A.A.S. degree outcomes as developing “leadership…using effective communication strategies,” “accounting principles,” and being able to “ensure regulatory compliance and patient safety.”
Both a pharmacy tech diploma and a pharmacy management degree should help students prepare for the pharmacy tech certification exam.
— AfterGym (@AfterGym) April 15, 2015
Pharmacy tech certificate or diploma programs include a range of courses like intro to pharmacy technology, pharmacy operations, pharmacology, clinical(s)/practicum(s), classifying pharmaceutical drugs, Patient Care, pharmacy law and ethics, sterile compounding or pharmaceutical calculations, as well as some general education courses like math, English and psychology.
An associate degree in pharmacy management might include many of the same courses as the diploma curriculum plus some additional classes. For example, an AAS Pharmacy Management degree might also feature more clinical experiences, more advanced pharmacology concepts and classes related to health and fitness, computers, microbiology, economics, communication, HR and management principles