Pharmacy Technician

Program Outline

Instruction Sets
Your program consists of 10 Instruction Sets written to take you step-by-step through the knowledge and skills you'll use in your new career.

Here's how it works
You receive the first course as soon as your enrollment has been accepted, and other courses will follow as you complete your exams.

System Requirements
You will need access to a Microsoft® Windows®-based computer (or Mac equivalent) and high-speed Internet in order to complete your program with Penn Foster.

Here is an overview of what you'll learn and the order in which you'll access your lessons:

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal: To prepare students to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam and gain entry-level employment as a pharmacy technician.

Program Outcomes:
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Explain how to assist the pharmacist in collecting, organizing, and evaluating information for direct patient care, medication use review, and department management
  • Understand how to receive and review prescriptions/medication orders for completeness and authenticity
  • Understand how to prepare medications for distribution
  • Verify the measurements, preparation, and/or packaging of medications produced by other technicians
  • Comprehend the medication distribution process
  • Understand how to initiate, verify, and assist in adjudicating and collecting payment and/or initiating billing for pharmacy goods and services
  • Comprehend the monitoring of the practice site and/or service area for compliance with federal, state and local laws, regulations and professional standards
  • Understand how to maintain pharmacy equipment and facilities
  • Understand how to prevent medication misadventures
  • Recognize a professional image
  • Understand how to function as an effective member of a health care team
  • Understand the use and adverse effects of common prescription and nonprescription medications

Instruction Set 1

Starting Your Program
Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program. Understand how to use your Student Portal, including your My Homepage and My Courses pages; access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers; and connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.

The Profession of Pharmacy
The role of the Pharmacy Technician; various types of pharmacies and drug dispensing work sites.

Instruction Set 2

Regulations for Drug Development
Food and Drug Administration requirements for drug testing; the review process for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.

Pharmacy Operations
Policies and procedures related to the pharmacy; prescriptions/medications orders, patient profiles, and prescription labels; basic procedures related to ordering, purchasing, storage and retrieval, returns, recalls, and expired drugs; computer systems and software programs used by pharmacies; routine duties of the pharmacy technician in an institutional setting; duties related to pharmacy administration and management.

Prescribers of Drugs
Professionals who are licensed to prescribe medications; types of medications prescribed.

Veterinarians as Prescribers
Drugs prescribed by veterinarians; how drugs are given to animals.

Instruction Set 3

Drug Information Sources
Sources of drug information used as ready references by pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

Drug Manufacturers, Monographs, and Package Inserts
Major drug manufacturers and their products; company recognition through medication logs, color codes and more; understanding the sections of an official drug monograph/package insert in order to evaluate the particular actions of a drug.

Label Preparation
Preparation of prescriptions and medications order labels.

Dosage Forms and Routes of Administration
Various drug dosage forms: solids, liquids, creams/ointments and other forms.

Reading and interpreting directions on prescriptions; pharmaceutical notations and Latin abbreviations.

Instruction Set 4

Review of English and metric systems of measurement and temperature; using ratios and proportions to solve problems; variables and solving equations; using formulas to solve problems.

Pharmacy Arithmetic
Basic arithmetic required for preparing and dispensing drugs.

Pharmaceutical Calculations
Pharmaceutical calculations used in drug preparation and dispensing; measurements, ratio and proportion, calculation of doses, percentages preparations.

Instruction Set 5

Pharmaceutical Dispensing 1: General Considerations
Pharmaceutical compounding; equipment and measurement techniques; use of the mortar and pestle.

Pharmaceutical Dispensing 2: Solid Dose Forms
Dispensing of solid dosage forms; exercises in tablet dispensing, capsule dispensing and capsule packaging from bulk powder.

Pharmaceutical Dispensing 3: Liquid Dose Forms - Oral
Preparation and dispensing of liquid dose forms for oral administration.

Pharmaceutical Dispensing 4: Topical Dose Forms
Ointments and cream formulations for drugs used topically

Pharmaceutical Dispensing 5: Miscellaneous Dose Forms
Dose forms that are prepackaged and are untraditional from the solids, liquids, and topical dose forms.

Counting tray

Instruction Set 6

How Drugs Work
Characteristics of drug molecules, how drugs work at the cellular level and the fate of drugs in the body.

Poison/Drug Emergencies
What the technician should do if a patient calls in an emergency regarding accidental drug ingestion or the taking of a wrong dose or overdose; poisonous household substances; basics of poison antidotes.

Addictive Drugs
Addictive drugs which are dispensed in the pharmacy and their actions that cause physical dependence.

Adverse Reactions/Drug Interactions
Adverse drugs reactions; terminology used to describe such reactions.

Basic Chemistry of Drug Molecules
Basic principles of carbon containing chemistry which defines the chemical structure of drugs.

Instruction Set 7

Compounding of Sterile Products 1
Preparing injectable drugs and parenteral admixtures in a hospital pharmacy setting; IV systems.

Compounding of Sterile Products 2
Preparing total parenteral nutritional (TPN) solutions in the hospital pharmacy setting; aseptic techniques for safe preparation of the materials and their handling.

Instruction Set 8

Medical Terminology
Medical words and terminology referring to medical conditions of the patient and indications for drug usage.

Anatomical systems of the human along with the basic physiology of each system.

Instruction Set 9

Drug Classes: Prescription Drugs
The major classes of prescription drugs which the technician will dispense upon written orders from the prescriber.

Drug Classes: Over-the-Counter Drugs
Describes drug products sold in the pharmacy without need of a prescription (over-the-counter (OTC) drugs).

Instruction Set 10

General Medical Conditions
Common general medical ailments and the types of drugs which are used to treat these ailments.

Infectious Diseases
Infectious diseases that are treatable with drugs; major groups of antibiotics, antifungals and antivirals.

Types of cancers that are treated with drug therapy; chemotherapeutic agents used in cancer treatment.


Online Library and Librarian
Students in Penn Foster Career School have access to an online library for use during their studies. Students can use this library to do the required research in the courses they complete or can use it for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and to assist students in research activities during their studies with Penn Foster Career School International.

You must have a High School Diploma or GED to enroll in this program.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.

State boards of pharmacy may impose a variety of different requirements for pharmacy technician training. You should contact the state board to obtain the requirements applicable to pharmacy technicians in your state.