How To Become a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians' role is to assist pharmacists in preparing and selling prescription medicines. Because of them, a pharmacy-related company can minimize their health care costs. In addition to that, pharmacists can focus on their supervisory duties and improve their responsibilities to their patients while pharmacy technicians handle all routine work. These days, more and more retail and grocery stores are now offering pharmacy-related services. For that reason, the demand for pharmacy technicians is high. They can work in the hospital, grocery, drug stores, retail chain stores and other establishments. Because of this, pharmacy technician career is expected to increase in the next few years. Therefore, this is an excellent time for you to become a pharmacy technician.
Becoming a Pharmacy Technician
This is an ideal job for you if you want to work in a fast-paced and demanding field. So here are some steps for you to consider when mapping out your career:
High school diploma. This is the first requirement to become eligible for pharmacy technician position.
On the Job training (OJT). Before you will become a pharmacy technician, you will need to complete an informal job training or finish a formal pharmacy technician training program. Formal OJT program takes 3 to 12 months to complete. Prospective employers prefer to hire applicants who completed a formal training and certification.
Formal technician education program. Completing this program increases your chances of getting hired and receiving higher pharmacy tech salary than those who are not able to obtain this kind of program. This education program can take 6 months to 2 years. The program will include classroom and laboratory work. the following are some of the subject areas that will be explained in the said program:
- Medical and pharmaceutical terminology
- Pharmacy techniques
- Pharmacy law and ethics
- Pharmacy recordkeeping
- Pharmacy calculations
After completing this program, you will receive a diploma or a certificate. This will depend on the type of formal technician education program you are planning to enroll. Depending on the State you will be working as a pharmacy technician, you will need to be registered with the State Board of Pharmacy before you can start working as an assistant to pharmacists. The certifications available for pharmacy technician will include:
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board
- Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians
In order to qualify to take the above mentioned examinations, you must obtain a high school diploma and have not been a convicted felon. PTCB applicants should not have any drug-related or pharmacy-related convictions. After passing either of the certification examination, you have to be recertified every 2 years. A 20-hour continuing education is required for recertification. The number of hours should be completed within the 2-year certification period.
Start your research here, view pharmacy technician training requirements in your state along with salary data, job outlook and certification.
Responsibilities of pharmacy technicians
Before outlining the educational requirements to become a pharmacy technician, it is important to summarize the roles of a pharmacy technician under the supervision of a pharmacist:
Counts, labels and measures medications correctly.
Billing and payments from customers and other third parties.
Maintains supplies and pharmacy inventory.
In some pharmacies, they may be tasked to answer phones, man and operate a cash register, and so on. Essentially, their duties are different from one state to another.
Other skills required
Apart from having a high school diploma and the necessary national certifications, you must possess good customer service skills of which listening and communication alongside with strong PC skills (Excel, Word and Outlook) is a must to become a pharmacy technician.
Additionally you should have strong math skills including basic algebra with some employers seeking a math proficiency exam score of 80%. Finally in hospital settings you are expected to be proficient in operating and maintaining minor equipment as well as lifting patients.