Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy Technician

A pharmacy technician is an essential member of the healthcare team, working under the supervision of a pharmacist to assist in the preparation and dispensing of medications. With an expected job growth rate of 12% by 2026, becoming a pharmacy technician is a promising career choice.

To become a pharmacy technician, you will need to complete a certification program. The cost of these programs can vary, but there are scholarships and grants available to help offset the expenses. Online certification programs are also possible, allowing you to learn at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home.



The scope of a pharmacy technician’s responsibilities includes preparing medications, maintaining inventory, and assisting customers with their questions. They must also have a strong understanding of math and pharmacology to ensure the correct dosage and translation of prescriptions.

When choosing a certification program, it is important to ensure that it is accredited by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). This accreditation is proof that the program meets the standards set by the profession. It is also important to note that some states may have additional requirements, so it is crucial to contact your state’s Board of Pharmacy to get the most up-to-date information.

Upon completing a certification program, pharmacy technicians have the opportunity to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). Passing this exam is necessary to become a certified pharmacy technician. The exam includes questions on pharmacy practice, medications, and other pharmacy-related topics.

As a certified pharmacy technician, you can expect to earn a competitive salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $33,950 in May 2018. However, salaries can vary depending on factors such as experience, employer, and geographic location.



What is a Pharmacy Technician?

A pharmacy technician is a healthcare professional who works under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist to assist in the dispensing and processing of prescription medications. They play a crucial role in the pharmacy setting by ensuring that medications are accurately and safely prepared for patients.

The responsibilities of a pharmacy technician can vary depending on the state and the specific pharmacy they work in. In general, their tasks include receiving and verifying prescription orders, counting and measuring medications, packaging and labeling prescriptions, and maintaining patient records. They may also assist in inventory management, including ordering and restocking medications.

Pharmacy technicians are an essential part of the healthcare team, and their role has become increasingly important in recent years. With the growing demand for prescription medications, pharmacy technicians are in high demand. They provide vital support to pharmacists, allowing them to focus on more complex tasks, such as patient consultation and medication therapy management.



To become a pharmacy technician, there are several education and training requirements. While some states may only require a high school diploma or equivalent, others may have more stringent requirements, such as completing a formal education program or obtaining national certification.

Pharmacy technician programs are available at community colleges, vocational schools, and online institutions. These programs typically cover topics such as pharmacology, pharmacy law and ethics, medication safety, and pharmacy calculations. They may also include a hands-on component, where students gain practical experience in a pharmacy setting.

Upon completing a pharmacy technician program, individuals can pursue national certification through organizations such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). Certification is not always required, but it can enhance job prospects and may be required by some employers.

The job outlook for pharmacy technicians is promising, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 7% growth in employment from 2018 to 2028. The demand for pharmacy technicians is driven by factors such as the aging population, increased access to healthcare, and the expanding role of pharmacists in patient care.

Job Description and Responsibilities

A pharmacy technician in Minnesota is a vital member of the healthcare team, working behind the scenes to support pharmacists in delivering high-quality patient care. They are responsible for completing various tasks in a pharmacy setting, ensuring that medications are prepared accurately and efficiently.

Pharmacy technicians work in a variety of settings, including retail pharmacies, hospitals, and chain pharmacies. They work closely with pharmacists to double-check prescriptions, measure and mix medications, and label and package them for distribution. They are also responsible for maintaining inventory, organizing medications, and processing insurance claims.

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Pharmacy technicians play a crucial role in ensuring patient safety. They must be detail-oriented and have strong math skills to accurately measure and calculate medication dosages. They must also have excellent organizational skills to keep track of multiple prescriptions and ensure that medications are dispensed correctly.

Pharmacy technicians are expected to have a good understanding of medical terminology and be able to communicate effectively with both patients and healthcare professionals. They must also adhere to strict ethical standards and maintain patient confidentiality.

To become a pharmacy technician, individuals must complete a training program and pass a certification exam. In Minnesota, pharmacy technicians are required to be certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Pharmacy technician training programs typically take around 6-8 months to complete and can be completed at community colleges, vocational schools, or online. These programs provide the necessary knowledge and skills to prepare individuals for the certification exam.

Upon completing their training and earning their certification, pharmacy technicians can apply for entry-level positions in various healthcare settings. They have the opportunity to build a rewarding career in the healthcare field and may choose to specialize in a particular area, such as compounding medications or working in a hospital pharmacy.

Overall, becoming a pharmacy technician requires hard work, dedication, and a commitment to providing the best possible care to patients. It is a challenging yet rewarding profession that offers opportunities for growth and advancement.

Salary and Career Outlook

When deciding on a career path, it is important to consider the salary and career outlook for that profession. For pharmacy technicians, the outlook is quite promising.

In today’s healthcare environment, the demand for pharmacy technicians is on the rise. As the population continues to age and the need for prescription medications increases, the role of pharmacy technicians becomes even more crucial. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to grow 9% from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

Pharmacy technicians can work in a variety of settings, including retail pharmacies, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. Each type of work environment may have different salary expectations. On average, pharmacy technicians earn a median annual salary of $34,020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In terms of education and training requirements, pharmacy technicians typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. Some states may have additional requirements, such as completing a formal training program or passing an examination. For example, in Wisconsin, pharmacy technicians are required to be certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or another board-approved certification organization.

Pharmacy technicians can also choose to pursue further education and certifications to enhance their career opportunities and earning potential. The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) offers the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) certification, which is recognized nationwide.

Pharmacy technicians who are certified must maintain their certification through continuing education and practice. This ensures that they stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field and maintain the highest standards of practice.

Overall, a career as a pharmacy technician can be rewarding both financially and personally. With a positive job outlook, competitive salary, and opportunities for advancement, it is a field worth considering for those interested in the healthcare industry.

For more information on how to get started in this field, including FAQs and online courses, visit the website of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Education and Training Requirements

To become a pharmacy technician, there are certain education and training requirements that you must meet. Employers typically require candidates to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers may also require completion of a postsecondary pharmacy technician training program, while others may provide on-the-job training.

One of the most common ways to meet the education requirement is by completing a pharmacy technician training program. These programs are offered by vocational schools, community colleges, and some hospitals. They typically take about 1 to 2 years to complete and cover topics such as pharmacy law, medication safety, and pharmacy calculations.

In addition to completing a training program, pharmacy technicians may also need to obtain certification. While certification is not always required, it can enhance job prospects and demonstrate competence in the field. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) is the most widely recognized certification exam and is administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).

The PTCE is a computer-based exam that consists of 90 multiple-choice questions. It covers a range of topics, including pharmacy law, medication safety, and pharmacology. To pass the exam, candidates must answer at least 75% of the questions correctly. Once certified, pharmacy technicians must renew their certification every 2 years by completing 20 hours of continuing education.

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Some states may have additional requirements for pharmacy technicians. For example, in Delaware, pharmacy technicians must be registered with the Delaware Board of Pharmacy. Other states may require pharmacy technicians to obtain a license or complete a certain number of hours of training.

If you decide to become a pharmacy technician, it is worth noting that the field is expected to grow by 8% from 2019 to 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth is due to the increased demand for prescription medications and the expanding role of pharmacists in patient care.

When applying for pharmacy technician positions, having completed a high-quality training program and obtaining certification can help you stand out from other candidates. It is also important to have a well-written resume that highlights your education, training, and any relevant experience you have.

How to Become a Pharmacy Technician

If you are interested in becoming a pharmacy technician, there are several steps you need to take to obtain the necessary education and training. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to become a pharmacy technician:

Step 1: Earn a high school diploma or equivalent
Step 2: Decide if you want to pursue a certification
Step 3: Research pharmacy technician programs
Step 4: Choose a pharmacy technician program
Step 5: Complete the required education and training
Step 6: Obtain certification, if desired
Step 7: Apply for pharmacy technician jobs
Step 8: Start working as a pharmacy technician

First, you will need to earn a high school diploma or equivalent. This is the minimum educational requirement for becoming a pharmacy technician. Having a strong background in math and science can be beneficial for this career.

Next, you will need to decide if you want to pursue a certification. While certification is not always required, it can enhance your job prospects and earning potential. The two main certification options for pharmacy technicians are the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

After deciding on certification, you should research pharmacy technician programs. Look for programs that are accredited and offer the necessary coursework and training to prepare you for the certification exam.

Once you have researched programs, you can choose a pharmacy technician program that best fits your needs. Consider factors such as cost, location, and program length when making your decision.

After enrolling in a program, you will need to complete the required education and training. This will typically include coursework in pharmacology, pharmacy law and ethics, medication safety, and pharmacy calculations. You may also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through an externship or internship.

If you decide to pursue certification, you will need to study and prepare for the exam. There are many resources available, including study guides, practice exams, and online courses, to help you prepare for the certification exam.

Once you have completed your education and training and obtained certification, you can start applying for pharmacy technician jobs. The demand for pharmacy technicians is expected to grow in the coming years, so there should be plenty of job opportunities available.

When applying for jobs, be sure to highlight your education, training, and certification. It is also important to have strong communication and customer service skills, as pharmacy technicians often interact with patients and healthcare professionals.

Once you have been hired as a pharmacy technician, you will begin working in a pharmacy setting, such as a retail pharmacy or hospital pharmacy. Your responsibilities may include filling prescriptions, compounding medications, and providing support to the pharmacist.

FAQ

What does a pharmacy technician do?

A pharmacy technician assists pharmacists in dispensing medications to customers or healthcare professionals. They also perform administrative tasks, such as maintaining patient records and managing inventory.

What is the average salary of a pharmacy technician?

The average salary of a pharmacy technician is around $34,000 per year. However, this can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and the type of pharmacy they work in.

What education is required to become a pharmacy technician?

Most pharmacy technicians have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some states may require additional certification or completion of a pharmacy technician program. On-the-job training is also common in this field.

What is the job outlook for pharmacy technicians?

The job outlook for pharmacy technicians is projected to be strong, with a faster-than-average growth rate of 4% from 2019 to 2029. This is due to the increasing demand for prescription medications and the expanding role of pharmacists in healthcare settings.

Dave Pennells

By Dave Pennells

Dave Pennells, MS, has contributed his expertise as a career consultant and training specialist across various fields for over 15 years. At City University of Seattle, he offers personal career counseling and conducts workshops focused on practical job search techniques, resume creation, and interview skills. With a Master of Science in Counseling, Pennells specializes in career consulting, conducting career assessments, guiding career transitions, and providing outplacement services. Her professional experience spans multiple sectors, including banking, retail, airlines, non-profit organizations, and the aerospace industry. Additionally, since 2001, he has been actively involved with the Career Development Association of Australia.