What are the Main Pharmacy Technician Requirements?
As the job market gets more and more competitive, employers are able to request more education and training from their potential employees. And although there is no specific national training standard for pharmacy technicians, again more employers are looking for training and certified staff.
In order to enter into a pharmacy technician training program, you are required to have a high school diploma or equivalent. You can obtain a degree through a variety of educational institutions including hospitals, community colleges, vocational schools and even in the military. The program can range from six months to two years and generally consists of a combination of classroom and laboratory work.
The classroom components contain a variety of subjects including medical and pharmaceutical terminology, pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacy record-keeping, pharmaceutical techniques, and pharmacy law and ethics.
As a pharmacy technician you will be required to learn off medication’s names, actions, uses, and correct dosage. And many training programs include internships, in which you can get hands-on experience in actual pharmacies.
When you graduate from the program, you will receive a diploma, a certificate, or an associate’s degree, depending on the program.
If you also have other experience operating a cash register, interacting with customers, managing inventory, and using computers that can increase your chances of gaining employment since that will also be part of your job duties.
In most States, pharmacy technicians must also become registered with the State Board of pharmacy. Usually you have to have your high school diploma to qualify. There is also an application fee that has to be paid in order to receive this registration.
In order to also become a certified pharmacy technician, you will be required to write and pass the certification exam offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). Again to be eligible for this certification you have to have a high school diploma.
In order to maintain this certification status, you will be required to re-certify every two years. As well you have to complete 20 hours of continuing education during that time period. You can take those courses through a local college, pharmacy association, and pharmacy technician training programs. You can also obtain some on the job training that can count toward the required 20 hours.
In order to be successful as a pharmacy technician, you really need to have good customer service and community skills. You will be dealing with patients, fellow co-workers, pharmacists and other health care providers on a daily basis. You will also have to have good math skills, be very proficient in reading, and writing and able to decipher prescription orders. You must have good attention to detail and be very conscientious. An error in a prescription can have very dire consequences.
From a pharmacy technician, you can advance to a supervisory position. You might end up deciding to specialize in certain areas such as chemotherapy technician or a nuclear pharmacy technician. You could move into sales, or if you decide to return to school and acquire more education, you could end up becoming a pharmacist yourself. Read more about Pharmacy Technician vs Pharmacist to learn more about the main roles between the two and education required.
So in the near future, job opportunities for pharmacy technicians are expected to be fairly good, especially for those with previous experience, formal training, or certification. Job openings will result from employment growth, as well as the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or retire from the labor force.