Veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants both work in animal hospitals and clinics, but that is where the similarities between these two careers end. They differ in both their job duties and in their education and training requirements. While assistants need only a high school or equivalency diploma, technicians must complete a two-year veterinary technology training program. In addition to their formal training, they usually need a state-issued license.
Pharmacy technicians’ primary responsibility is dispensing prescription medication, which requires great attention to detail. Pharmacy techs must be able to measure, mix, dose and dispense appropriate amounts of medication based on the pharmacist’s orders. They may also be involved with data entry tasks to update patient records and fill prescription orders.
Job growth for pharmacy technicians is expected to be roughly 20 percent from 2012 through 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Demand for experienced and skilled pharmacy technicians is expected to stay strong as consumers live longer and increasingly turn to pharmacists for prescription medication to manage chronic diseases and take care of aging-related health issues.
Since most certification and degree programs for pharmacy technicians require hands-on training through an externship or similar training, it’s important to determine what types of partnerships the school has secured for externships. Some schools offer externship placement as a courtesy to students, while others require students to seek out and apply for training on their own. In either situation, students are typically responsible for organizing their own transportation to the pharmacy, lab or other approved facility to complete this component of the program.
If you are an aspiring veterinary technician, attend a two-year veterinary technology program that has received accreditation from the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA). You will usually earn an associate degree upon completing such a program. Find a list of accredited programs in the United States and Canada on the AVMA website: Veterinary Technology Programs Accredited by the AVMA CVTEA.
Tanzania has two Pharmaceutical Technician schools: one is a public sector institution under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and accredited by Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, and the other is affiliated with a faith based organization located in Kilimanjaro which offers diploma training. The practice of pharmaceutical technicians is regulated by Tanzania Pharmacy Council, which enrols and enlists them. The country has 0.11 registered pharmacy technicians per 10,000 population.[16]
According to the BLS, 91% of veterinary technicians work in veterinary offices, clinics and other facilities that provide veterinary services. A smaller number of veterinary technicians work in animal shelters, zoos and research facilities. Many veterinary technicians get their start by taking paid internships with animal health care facilities, which are often available to recent graduates of accredited veterinary technology educational programs.
If you prefer flexibility and freedom for your studies, an online program may be right for you. Many people have full-time jobs and families to take care of, so the online option is a great fit for them. Getting your pharmacy technician degree online allows for the same quality of instruction as on-campus programs, but you have the ability to study when you want. If you’re having trouble with a particular topic, it’s convenient to be able to go back to the online content to review it as many times as you need.

The State Library has provided access to LearningExpress Library which includes resources to help a pharmacy technician prepare for the national certification exams. Practice tests include immediate scoring, complete answer explanations, and an individualized analysis of results. To access these resources, go to www.statelibraryofiowa.org and click on Log in to Online Resources > LearningExpress > Career Center > Prepare for Occupation Exam > Prepare for Pharmacy Technician Certification.


Revised ASHP/ACPE accreditation standards for pharmacy technician education and training program (revised): frequently asked questions. ASHP website. ashp.org/-/media/assets/professional-development/technician-program-accreditation/docs/ashp-acpe-revised-pharmacy-technician-program-accreditation-standards-faq.ashx?la=en&hash=20A4F63D3DBD66AFA487CEC39978674392F343B9. Published July 2018. Accessed July 31, 2018.
A degree program is generally two years and results in a full academic degree, an associate’s degree (AA), that will distinguish your credentials and provide a foundation on which to build. That is, when you complete an AA, you will have a transcript of accredited courses that can apply to a full, four-year degree later on. Even if you never return to college again, having a full degree will be worthwhile. The additional courses will inform you as a person and professional, expanding your ability to communicate and understand your patients.
Technicians' additional training allows them to perform tasks that include administering anesthesia, and medicating and vaccinating animals. Assistants feed and bathe animals, prepare examination and operating rooms, and may also perform clerical duties. State laws regulate what those working in each occupation are permitted to do. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) website provides a state-by-state guide to specified duties of assistants and technicians.
Employment of agricultural and food technicians is projected to grow 6 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Demand will continue for agricultural research into areas such as the effects of population growth, increased demand for water resources, harm from pests and pathogens, changes in climate and weather patterns, and demand for agricultural products, such as biofuels.
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