Discover how to become a pharmacy technician with our awesome guide! We’ll show you seven important steps to follow. You’ll learn about the cool things they do and what they need to learn. Get hands-on experience and a special certificate too! We’ll even tell you about all the amazing jobs you can have. Start your exciting journey now and become the best pharmacy technician ever!
What is a Pharmacy Technician?
Pharmacy technicians are invaluable in healthcare delivery, supporting pharmacists by dispensing medicines to patients at hospitals, long-term care homes, mail-order pharmacies, and retail pharmacies. They work under their guidance to deliver medicine efficiently and safely.
Helping a pharmacist dispense prescription medication may seem simple but requires core attention to detail. They ensure that medications are filled accurately within an agreed-upon timeframe. They assist the pharmacist by measuring, mixing, counting, and labeling medication doses – they do not usually advise patients regarding dosages and potential side effects – this responsibility rests solely with them.
Staying abreast of changes in their field is one of the major obstacle, according to Mike Johnston, CEO of the National Pharmacy Technician Association. According to him, practices often vary due to new generic drugs being released. Another difficulty is dealing with patients who may not feel well; many customers suffer from common colds and sinus infections or more serious chronic illnesses requiring compassion and empathy from pharmacy technicians during interactions.
They can work in department stores, grocery stores, and general merchandise shops—however, most work in pharmacies, drug stores, or hospitals.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics projections, pharmacy technician employment opportunities are expected to experience a 5.0% surge from 2021-2031 and produce around 22,400 additional jobs.
How to Become a Pharmacy Technician
Before beginning work as a pharmacy technician, you must fulfill a few requirements. Education and training should come first – although degrees aren’t strictly necessary! Vocational schools, community colleges, and online institutions offer these programs, covering subjects such as pharmacy operations, pharmaceutical calculations, and medication management.
7 Steps to Follow to Become a Pharmacy Technician
Step 1: Understand the Role
Before diving into this profession, it is crucial to understand their roles and responsibilities as technicians. Explore their duties, which include assisting pharmacists, dispensing medications, managing inventory, and providing excellent customer service.
Step 2: Research Educational Requirements
Research the educational requirements in your area. While formal education may not always be mandatory, completing a pharmacy technician training program is highly recommended. Learn about the curriculum, duration, and accreditation of these programs.
Step 3: Enroll in a Training Program
Enroll in a reputable pharmacy technician training program that aligns with your educational and career goals. Explore different options, such as vocational schools, community colleges, and online institutions. Consider factors like program flexibility, cost, and practical experience opportunities.
Step 4: Gain Practical Experience
Practical experience is vital for pharmacy technicians. Internships, externships, and on-the-job training opportunities offer great ways to gain this experience while honing skills, expanding your exposure to different pharmacy environments, and increasing employability.
Step 5: Prepare for Certification Exams
Certification as a technician can significantly expand your career opportunities. Consider various certification exams such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) or Exam for Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT). Create a study plan and utilize resources effectively in preparation for these exams.
Step 6: Obtain a License
Ascertain the requirements for obtaining a pharmacy license in your state or country. Review the application process, documentation needs, and prerequisites such as background checks or continuing education requirements. Follow the necessary steps to secure your license and meet all regulatory obligations.
Step 7: Explore Career Opportunities and Professional Development
Upon becoming a licensed technician, explore the vast career opportunities available. Consider working in different settings, such as retail pharmacies, hospitals, or specialty pharmacies. Additionally, engage in continuous professional development by staying updated on industry advancements and pursuing further education or certifications.
Duration of Pharmacy Technician Training
The duration of training can vary depending on the program and the educational path chosen. A technician training program typically takes several months to two years. Influences that determine duration include the program schedule (full or part-time) and an individual’s ability to meet its requirements.
Required Education for Pharmacy Technicians
Although formal education is only sometimes required, completing a training program provides a comprehensive foundation for the profession. These programs cover essential topics like pharmacy law and ethics, pharmacology, and medication safety. Additionally, some states may have specific educational requirements for licensure.
Discovering the Responsibilities
They carry out various tasks to assist pharmacists in the everyday functioning of a pharmacy. These duties include:
- Accurately dispensing medications to patients.
- Managing inventory.
- Processing prescription orders.
- Compounding medications under pharmacist supervision.
- Providing excellent customer service to patients.
How to get a Pharmacy Technician License?
The licensure requirements vary by state. Many states mandate license or registration with their state’s Board of Pharmacy. The process usually involves:
- Completing a pharmacy technician training program.
- Passing a national certification exam.
- Submitting an application to the state board with any required documentation and fees.
Salary of Pharmacy Technicians
Salary expectations depend on various factors, including experience, qualifications, geography, and work environment. On average, they earn around $29,460 to $45,850 annually. However, it should be remembered that salaries may differ greatly based on individual circumstances and factors listed earlier.
Hourly Wage for Pharmacy Technicians
As part of your research for a career as a pharmacy technician, you must know the expected hourly wage. On average, They earn between $15-20 an hour, depending on experience, qualifications, and location.
Pharmacy Assistant vs. Pharmacy Technician: Understanding the Distinctions
While “pharmacy assistant” and “pharmacy technician” might seem alike, they involve different responsibilities. Pharmacy assistants primarily focus on administrative tasks and customer service, whereas they have a broader scope, which includes dispensing and compounding medications.
Pharmacist vs. Pharmacy Technician: Different Roles, Similarities, and Contrasts
Although pharmacists and pharmacy technicians play important roles in a pharmacy, their responsibilities vary greatly. Pharmacists are highly educated healthcare professionals who can directly care for patients, while pharmacy technicians primarily support pharmacists by handling administrative and technical tasks.
Pharmacy Techs rank #17 in Best Jobs Without A College Degree. Jobs are ranked according to their ability to offer an elusive mix of factors. Read more about how we rank the best jobs.
|in Best Jobs Without A College Degree
|in Best Health Care Support Jobs
|in 100 Best Jobs
Best-Paying Cities for Pharmacy Techs
San Francisco, Napa Valley, San Jose Valley, Vallejo Bay Area, and Santa Rosa offer the highest salaries.
|San Francisco, California
|San Jose, California
|Santa Rosa, California
Best-Paying States for Pharmacy Techs
California, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia all offer mean average salaries that rank highest.
|District of Columbia
Celebrating Pharmacy Technician Day
Celebrate Pharmacy Technician Day, an annual event that acknowledges their valuable contributions and unwavering commitment to the healthcare system. It’s a special occasion to honor their dedication to upholding patient safety and maintaining accurate medication practices.
Begin an enriching career as a medical technician! Embark on a rewarding and meaningful career path as a medical technician, where you can contribute to the well-being of others. Completing an extensive training program and acquiring essential knowledge and skills position you for many professional growth opportunities.
Additionally, obtaining the necessary licensure will enable you to confidently navigate the exciting and ever-evolving field of healthcare, where you’ll have the privilege of positively impacting the lives of countless individuals seeking medical assistance. Embrace this fulfilling journey and discover the immense satisfaction of serving others while continuously expanding your horizons.
How long does it take to become a pharmacy technician?
Becoming a pharmacy technician typically requires a time commitment ranging from several months to up to two years, considering the duration of education and training involved.
What education is required to be a pharmacy technician?
While not mandatory, completing a training program can enhance your career prospects and provide comprehensive knowledge.
What does a pharmacy technician do?
They assist pharmacists in dispensing medications, managing inventory, processing prescription orders, and providing customer service.
How can I get a pharmacy technician license?
Licensing requirements vary throughout the country but generally encompass completing an education program, passing an examination, and submitting an application.
How much does a pharmacy technician make?
They typically earn an annual average salary between $28,460 to $45,850 with potential for growth and advancement.