What You Must Know to Become a Pharmacy Technician

If you are looking for a stable job with plenty of growth potential, then you may want to consider becoming a pharmacy technician. Technicians work closely with licensed pharmacists to make sure patients have their necessary medications. Here is a short summary of what it takes to become a pharmacy technician.

What does a pharmacy technician do?

Pharmacy technicians verify that prescriptions are complete and valid. They are responsible for medication storage and security, as well as ordering and maintaining necessary supplies. They will often answer phones and fill bottles for prescription orders. Many times they will answer questions for customers or refer them to the pharmacist. They are usually responsible for pricing, filing prescriptions, and checking out customers.

What are the requirements to become a pharmacy technician?

To become a pharmacy technician, you must be a high school graduate or an equivalent without any felonies or drug-related convictions. Most employers require you to become a certified pharmacy technician, which will also increase your salary, but neither states nor the federal government requires certifications at this point. After your training, which usually includes both classroom and hands-on clinical experience, you’ll have to pass the certification test given by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. The exam is made up of 90 multiple choice questions. You will also be required to take 20 hours of continuing education every two years to keep your license.

What kind of training is needed to become a pharmacy technician?

Although training will be different between states, classes generally are related to fundamental chemistry and pharmacology. Other related classes include pharmacy math, pharmacy ethics, medical and pharmaceutical terminology, first aid training, and lab skills. Internship programs are also necessary, along with classroom training. Many training programs last from six months up to a year, but there are programs available for an Associates or Bachelor’s Degree.

Where can you work as a pharmacy technician?

There are many job opportunities for pharmacy technicians in hospitals, grocery and drug stores, managed care facilities and even mail-in order pharmacies. You will also find pharmacy technicians in the armed forces and working in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. There are usually openings for both part-time and full-time work, as well as evening and night shifts.

Becoming a pharmacy technician can be a rewarding career or a stepping stone for becoming a licensed pharmacist. Be sure to check with the requirements of the state you are interested in working in to make sure you get the appropriate level of education.

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