Pharmacy Technician Professional Course Details

Penn Foster College’s online Pharmacy Technician Professional program is ASHP/ACPE accredited and is aligned with ASHP/ACPE standards to prepare graduates to successfully pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT) certification exams.

Program Goals and Outcomes

Program Goals

To prepare students to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) or NHA ExCPT exam, and gain entry-level employment as a pharmacy technician.

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to...
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills in areas of science relevant to the pharmacy technician’s role, including anatomy/physiology and pharmacology
  • Compare and contrast the roles of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in ensuring pharmacy department compliance with professional standards and relevant legal, regulatory, formulary, contractual, and safety requirements
  • Describe the steps, skills, and knowledge needed to prepare medications requiring compounding of sterile products, chemotherapy/hazardous products, and nonsterile products
  • Apply standard procedures used when compounding nonsterile products
  • Explain patient- and medication-safety practices in all aspects of the pharmacy technician’s roles
  • Demonstrate knowledge of quality assurance practices for pharmaceuticals, durable and nondurable medical equipment, devices, and supplies
  • Apply the steps in the medication order entry and fill process and interpret medication orders
  • Demonstrate knowledge of accepted procedures in purchasing pharmaceuticals, devices, and supplies
  • Describe the steps needed to initiate, verify, and assist in the adjudication of billing for pharmacy services and goods, and collecting payment for these services
  • Describe the use of current technology in the healthcare environment to ensure the safety and accuracy of medication dispensing
  • Explain the skills and strategies needed for professional and appropriate personal behavior and interpersonal communication
In this course, you'll learn tips for how to be a good Penn Foster student.


  • Understand how to use your Student Portal.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
This course is intended as an introduction to Penn Foster’s Pharmacy Technician Professional program. It is designed to introduce the student to the curriculum, the externship, and the student portal. Students will be introduced to the practice of pharmacy, including the history of pharmacy, technician roles in various practice settings, pharmacy ethics and professionalism, as well as advancing and emerging opportunities for technicians now and in the future.


  • Summarize the history of pharmacy and of technician career development
  • Explain the advantages of formal training for pharmacy technicians
  • Identify the roles of pharmacy technicians in different work environments
  • Identify specific technical and professional skills required by the pharmacy technician professional
  • Explain the importance of computer and information literacy to the pharmacy technician profession
  • Establish the written and interpersonal communication skills needed to be an effective pharmacy technician
  • Define the high level of inquiry, analytical, and problem-solving skills used daily by pharmacy technicians
In this course students learn the soft skills employers demand to help increase job retention, employee and customer relations, and advancement opportunities. They examine the elements of professionalism, communication strategies, how to work with technology, working with an effective team, and methods for being a good leader.


  • Describe integrity and professionalism and their importance in effective work environments
  • Explain the importance of diversity, strategies for effective communication, and effective teamwork skills
  • Explain time management strategies, how to prioritize, the decision-making process, the problem-solving process, and open-mindedness
In this course, students will become familiar with various body systems including structure, function, diseases, disorders, and treatments. Students will also learn drug delivery systems, drug administration routes, medical terminology, drug classifications, and commonly used medications for various organ system disorders.


  • Recognize the basic principles of pharmacology
  • Identify the anatomy, physiology, diseases, and treatments of the cardiovascular and hematologic systems
  • Identify the anatomy, physiology, diseases, and treatments of the respiratory and endocrine systems
  • Identify the anatomy, physiology, diseases and treatments of the   gastrointestinal, urinary, and reproductive systems
This course is a continuation of Pharmacology, Drug Class, and Body Systems 1. This course will familiarize students with various body systems including structure, function, diseases, disorders, and treatments. Students will also learn about microorganisms and their impact on the human body, as well as the pharmacological place for vitamins, minerals, and herbs.


  • Identify the anatomy, physiology, and diseases and treatments of the integumentary and musculoskeletal systems
  • Identify the anatomy, physiology, and diseases and treatments of the sensory and nervous systems
  • Identify the anatomy, physiology, and diseases and treatments of the immune system
  • Recognize the impact and importance of antibiotics, minerals, vitamins, and herbs on the human body
In this course, students will learn how law affects healthcare practitioners and pharmacy technicians, the origin of law that affects medical professionals, the basics of the process of litigation and its alternatives, the common-law basis for the confidentiality of healthcare information, and the laws regulating healthcare information collected and maintained by government agencies.


  • Interpret civil and criminal laws related to pharmacy practice
  • Assess ethical issues healthcare professionals face today
  • Apply confidentiality laws and regulations
This course introduces the pharmacy technician student to basic math, algebra, and pharmaceutical calculations utilized in pharmacy practice.


  • Review and demonstrate basic math aptitude needed for pharmacy technician practice
  • Review and practice how to perform calculations related to prescription orders
  • Review and practice special medical calculations and business math used in the pharmacy

Textbook: Math Calculations for Pharmacy Technicians, Elsevier

This course introduces students to sterile and nonsterile compounding. A strong emphasis is placed on proper aseptic technique and compliance with USP 795, 797, and 800. Compounding practices and equipment are also discussed.


  • Define sterile compounding, requirements and processes for IV medications, and the pharmacy technician's role
  • Explain best practices for sterile compounding following USP guidelines
  • Explain best practices for compounding, including hazardous drugs following USP guidelines, quality management, and safety


  • Mosby's Sterile Compounding for Pharmacy Technicians, Elsevier
  • Mosby's Pharmacy Technician Principles and Practice, Elsevier
This course introduces the pharmacy technician student to pharmacy operations. Students will discuss the differences between pharmacy settings, examine the business applications of pharmacy, and review drug information resources, including how and when to use them. Students will also learn how to handle medication safely, and the steps involved in error prevention.


  • Examine drug information references and their proper use
  • Differentiate the responsibilities of pharmacy technicians in various pharmacy settings
  • Describe the importance of reporting medication errors, and the preventative measures taken to reduce them

Textbook: Mosby's Pharmacy Technician Principles and Practice, Elsevier

The course introduces the student to the pharmacy reimbursement process. It discusses third party healthcare plans, reimbursement systems and claims processing.


  • Explain reimbursement methodologies related to pharmacy practice settings
  • Explain the elements of pharmacy billing and proper inventory management

Textbook: Mosby's Pharmacy Technician Principles and Practice, Elsevier

This course is designed to facilitate the student's mastery of computer skills needed to perform various pharmacy technician–related responsibilities in community and institutional pharmacy practices. Students will also perform hands-on and simulated activities where they will practice pharmacy technician skills using materials provided in a practice kit to prepare for their externship experience.


  • Use database software for performing prescription processing and related community pharmacy tasks
  • Use database software for the processing of medical orders and related institutional pharmacy tasks
  • Prepare pharmacy reports and show comprehension of software laboratory exercises
  • Demonstrate pharmacy technician skills in a simulated environment

Textbook: Pharmacy Management Software, 3e, Elsevier

Practice Lab Kit

This course is designed to strengthen working knowledge of the concepts essential for pharmacy technician practice and serve as a review to prepare students for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam.


  • Demonstrate preparedness for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)

Textbook: Mosby's Review for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination, Elsevier

The pharmacy technician externship provides students hands-on training in community and institutional pharmacy practice. The goal of the required externship is to produce competent pharmacy technicians by developing the essential skill sets through hands-on experience. Students will practice under the direct supervision of a registered pharmacist. This externship consists of 160 hours of clinical experience in a community pharmacy to be completed in 8 to 12 weeks.


  • Demonstrate pharmacy technician competencies within a pharmacy practice setting as defined on the student evaluation form.

An externship coordinator will work with CVS or Walgreens to place you at a local store location. Acceptance into the required externship component of this program requires: passing a background check and a 10-panel drug screen and having a minimum cumulative grade average of 70%. All costs associated with the externship are the responsibility of the student.

Illicit drug use, criminal background checks, and immunization status may prevent future employment as a pharmacy technician. Externship sites, employers, and State Boards of Pharmacy have regulations about drug use and criminal backgrounds.

Additional Details

  • Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered in the Penn Foster Program. Prospective students should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where they plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in this Program. Click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information. This is particularly important for residents of the District of Columbia, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Washington.
laptop sample lesson graphic.

Sample Pharmacy Technician Lesson

Penn Foster courses are written in a way that is easy to understand, and materials are broken down into manageable lessons. Take a look at what a pharmacy technician course would look like.

Penn Foster College Accreditation & Licensing Details

Penn Foster College has been nationally accredited for over 40 years, and has met the high standards of integrity and performance set by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) in Washington, D.C. Penn Foster College has been thoroughly reviewed and has earned several important accreditations and licensing. We also participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

DEAC and SARA Accreditation Logos
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Easy-to-Access Lessons

Each lesson is broken into short chapters that allow you to fit learning into whatever time you have available. Don’t have time to finish a lesson? Not a problem - pick up where you left off next time!

Digital Flashcards

A fun and interactive way to test your knowledge before your exams. Find out what information you've mastered, and what material needs additional review.

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Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows® 10 or later, an email account, a webcam, and microphone to complete this program.
We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.