How to become a Pharmacy Technician


Basic Job Description a Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians always start their day by getting the pharmacy ready for business. They prepare the pharmacy by turning on computers, fax machines, scales, as well as printers. The pharmacy technician must also ensure that the counter tops, pill counting trays, scales, and other medication devices are sterilized. When patients drop off prescription at a local retail pharmacy, most times it is the pharmacy technician that takes the prescription and process it through the computer. These medical professionals, help to prepare as well as dispense medications that were prescribed to the patient. Pharmacy technicians are well trained to perform various duties within a pharmacy; however, the only major limitation that they have is that they are not allowed legally to give advice to inquiries that are related to drugs, as well as other health matters. Nowadays, the scope of practice of the pharmacy technician has been expanding gradually, as government change the responsibility of the pharmacist to be more focused on patient care.Here are the responsibilities performed by a pharmacy technician;

  • Package and also label prescriptions
  • Counting of pills according to prescription provided
  • Place orders for drugs and maintain drug inventory
  • Keep the work environment and every equipment clean
  • Accept payments and also process medical insurance claims
  • Maintain profiles and records of all medications given to patients
  • Provide proper labels for drugs, supplies and chemicals
  • Assist in giving patients their medications in hospitals
  • Ensures the security and proper storage of every drug
  • Attend to simple queries from patients and directs them to the pharmacist for clarification on issues relating to drug information as well as interactions.
  • They also receive written prescriptions and process the medication, for the pharmacist to confirm

What Degree is required to become a Pharmacy Technician

There are quite a number of formal educational programs for individuals aspiring to become pharmacy technician.  Many employers prefer to hire candidates that have formal educational training, certification or previous pharmacy experience. For candidate to land their dream jobs as pharmacy technicians, obtaining all the necessary qualification is very necessary. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, educational programs available through various organizations includes;

  • Hospitals
  • The military, vocational schools as well as community colleges
  • These types of training programs are tailored to assist job candidates to achieve the pharmacy technician requirements by focusing on coursework that involves both classroom and laboratory training. They cover different subjects, such as:
  • Medical terminology
  • Pharmacy record keeping
  • Pharmacy ethics and law
  • Pharmaceutical techniques and calculations.

Is there any requirement for Certification or License?

Pharmacy technicians in most states are required to register with an official pharmacy board. In most cases, the minimum requirements for licensure and certification of pharmacy technicians are a high school diploma and payment of a small amount of money, and a clear background check will also be conducted. Certification is done by professional organizations like the Pharmacy Technicians Certification Board as well as the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT). Aspiring pharmacy technicians, who pass their exams offered by these groups, would have clearly shown that they possess the right skill set to assist in dispensing life-saving medications, as well as provide patients with essential medication information.

After obtaining the certification from these professional groups, the pharmacy technician is expected to take some continuing education. Re-certification of the pharmacy technician occurs every 2 years. For those that wants to be eligible for this re-certification, he or she must complete about 20 hours of continuing education. The pharmacy technician can also earn up to 10 hours of this continuing educational training by working directly with a licensed pharmacists.

How long does it take to become Pharmacy Technician

Formal training for pharmacy technicians can last from a few month to more than a year, it all depends on the coursework as well as involvement of the program. Students who wants to become pharmacy technicians should have strong background in mathematics, sciences, communications and language. This will prepare them for later course work in the field. On-the-job training, mentor ship, as well as guidance, all depends on the experience of a licensed and skilled pharmacist.The training is completed once the pharmacists has confident on the pharmacy technician’s ability to do the job without any supervision.

Also, vocational schools, community colleges, as well as technical institutions, often provides formal training for individuals aspiring to become pharmacy technicians.

Pharmacy Technician Job Location and Prospects

There a variety of work environment for the pharmacy technician to choose from. Some of these technicians, work closely with patients, while others do not even get to see their patients. These choices, which are available to the pharmacy technician, allows them to choose their hours of work. Regardless of where they work, all pharmacy technician must work under the supervision of a licensed pharmacists. Pharmacy technicians can work in retail pharmacy,compounding pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living as well as mental health facilities.

A close look at the report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that employment for individuals in this field, is expected to grow by 31 percent from now till the year 2018. This growth rate that is predicted is much higher than the projections in other sectors and can also be attributed to the expansion of the role of the pharmacy technicians.The job prospects for the pharmacy technician should be very okay, especially for those technicians with experience and who also have completed the pharmacy technician’s requirement for both formal training and certification. Source:

Growth in employment of pharmacy technicians can also be partly attributed to advances in pharmaceutical research and also as a result of an aging population. Although certification is not required by all states, becoming certified as a pharmacy technician may improve the job options of the individual. Also, a lot of employers will pay for their employees to take their certification examination.