How to Become a Pharmacy Technician – Duties and Education

pharmacy technician

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for pharmacy technicians are expected to grow an outstanding 20 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is faster than average for most medical occupations. If you are looking to take advantage of this healthy job outlook for pharmacy technicians or the field simply intrigues you, read on further to learn how one can become a pharmacy technician and what to expect from such career.

pharmacy technician

Duties of a Pharmacy Technician

In a nutshell, pharmacy technicians are trained and licensed to help licensed pharmacists in managing and dispensing prescription medication to customers or affiliated health facilities. They may also be instructed to make orders if supplies are nearing depletion and keep a detailed record of drugs that come in and out of the department for later reference. Pharmacy technicians must be well aware of the different types and names of prescription medication, how they should be used, and what they are used for. They must also recognize doctor’s orders to effectively distribute the right drug to the right person.

How to Become a Pharmacy Technician

Education Requirements

A high school diploma or an equivalent GED qualifies a person to take the certification exam for pharmacy technicians. In addition, one must have no previous or pending felony case or related conviction. There is no rigid training requirements for pharmacy technicians and the coursework required varies from one state to the next.

Most pharmacy technician students receive on-the-job training that takes anywhere between 3 months to a full year to complete. Formal pharmacy technician programs are accessible via a number of institutions including community colleges, vocational schools, and military service. Some programs can take 2 years to complete during which students are given hands-on training in actual pharmacies. Only after the student completes the required number of hours and subject credits of the program can he/she receive a diploma, certificate, or associate’s degree.

Work Setting

Pharmacy technicians are employed in pharmacies including those located in drug stores and supermarkets. They may also seek employment in primary hospitals and nursing homes. The average annual income for pharmacy technicians was $29,300 last 2012. This can change depending on where you work and how much experience you have as a pharmacy technician.

Career advancement for pharmacy technicians are restricted, yet managerial positions may be offered to pharmacy technicians with substantial training and background and are working in large pharmacies and healthcare facilities.