Pharmacy Technician Training and Certification Resources
Are you looking for pharmacy technician training in your area? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
Here you will find in-depth overviews of local schools, learn where to get student loans, find the best online colleges, and learn about the educational requirements and job opportunities within this lucrative health care specialty.
What is a Pharmacy Technician?
A pharmacy technician represents the backbone of a pharmacy. Although a pharmacist is in charge, the pharmacy technician performs the majority of the work. Here are a few more reasons why this is such a demanding field:
- 28.8% current job growth
- Over 39,000 annual job openings
- Over 3 billion prescriptions filled each year in the US
Pharmacy technicians work under the direction of licensed pharmacists. They carry out many of the same job tasks as a pharmacist. They give the proper medicine to those who have prescriptions, and they stay in contact with insurance companies and other medical professionals to make sure those patients are receiving the proper medication.
If you are interested in becoming a pharmacy technician, you should have good computer skills, as well as a good understanding of math, and an attention to detail. You will be required to weigh and count medication, and if you make mistakes, it could make patients ill. Interpersonal skills and communication skills are also of great importance to succeed in this field.
How Do You Become a Pharmacy Technician?
In the past, becoming a pharmacy technician required little more than a high school diploma and training at the pharmacy where you worked. However, more and more employers are demanding national certification from all pharmacy technician employees. Certain states also require that pharmacy technicians be nationally certified. Make sure to check with your State Board of Pharmacy to see what is required in your state.
About Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Many community colleges and trade schools offer pharmacy technician training programs that can be completed in less than a year. These programs issue a Diploma or Certificate to graduates and prepare students for the national exam. Other colleges offer associate degree programs that take up to two years. Most of these programs offer an externship which gives each student the opportunity to hone their skills in a working pharmacy environment.
Upon graduation of a pharmacy technician training program, students are encouraged to sit for the national exam issued by either the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT).
Another attractive option for busy people are online pharmacy technician programs.
Registering For a License to Practice in Your State
Once you meet the state requirements to work as a pharmacy technician you will need to register for a license to practice. Although each state has its own protocol, applicants usually need to fill out an application, pay a small fee and provide proof of their training and other qualifications. Most states require the submission of fingerprints in order to run a background check.
What is a Pharmacy Tech Certification?
Even if certification is not required, you will increase your chances of employment if you are certified by the PTCB, or Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. The PTCB conducts certified programs under the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.
These programs offer a standardized level of training that will give you superior knowledge about the pharmacy profession, and allow you to help prevent medication errors; regardless where you end up working. Pharmacy technician certification is becoming increasingly important because employers, who check job applications, often look for extra certification from pharmacy technicians. This is critical because these applicants have a better knowledge of the medication that is given, and can thus help prevent errors and possible lawsuits.
Passing the national certification exam will earn you the official title of Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) and will enable you to work anywhere in the US.
The Pharmacy Technician Training Process
Pharmacy technician training can take anywhere between six months and two years to complete depending on where you go to school and how much training you choose to receive. Most programs follow a similar curriculum which includes a study of pharmacology, anatomy, physiology, medical and pharmaceutical terminology, medication measurements and preparation, pharmacy law and ethics and a class or two that focus on administrative duties and communication. Of course, the exact course list will vary by school, but this is a general outline of the types of classes you can expect to take.
Most pharmacy technician training programs will include an externship to give students real-world experience in a retail pharmacy, hospital, or other appropriate pharmacy setting.
As mentioned earlier, there are several degrees of schooling you can opt for – anything from a diploma to a certificate to a degree. It’s a good idea to make sure the school you choose is accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) since some states will only recognize accredited training.
Pharmacy Technician Employment Opportunities
Nearly 75% of pharmacy technicians work in a retail pharmacy, however there are many opportunities for techs to work in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, mail-order pharmacies, health insurance companies and even directly for the drug companies.
Many pharmacy technicians go on to work in management positions, while others specialize in nuclear pharmacy, oncology pharmacy or other pharmacy niches. The increasing number of pharmaceuticals that come on to the market each day, coupled with the aging population, is driving the need for more and more pharmacy technicians.
As in most medical professions, there is always a shortage of qualified professionals. If you work as a pharmacy technician, you will always have great job prospects, because pharmacy technicians are less expensive to hire than pharmacists. However, you will still earn a very good salary.
Average Pharmacy Technician Salary
The average salary for a pharmacy technician in the United States is around $30,000 to $35,000 a year but can easily exceed $40,000 and has even exceeded $70,000 in some cases. The more education and experience you have, the higher your salary will be. Pharmacy technicians who work for the armed forces are paid significantly more that the average technician. However, well-paying jobs can be found in most sectors of the pharmaceutical field.
Please see our other articles on Pharmacy Technician training and jobs in the Pharmacy Tech field to help get you started.
Better medicine and lifestyle changes have allowed people to live much longer. This means that more medications need to be filled, and the demand for qualified pharmacy technicians is on the rise. If you are interested in becoming a pharmacy technician then you can expect to enjoy a rewarding career for many years to come.