How to Become a Pharmacy Technician

Get all the information you need on how to become a pharmacy technician including what they do, where they work, how much they make, and how to get certified.

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A pharmacy technician is a health care worker who assists pharmacists in filling prescriptions and providing customer service in pharmacies. Many states require pharmacy technicians to be licensed. EARN WHILE YOU LEARN Get paid while you train at Job Corps! Pharmacy technicians earn a competitive wage while they complete their training. After graduation, most students are placed in jobs or apprenticeships by Job Corps.
JOB SKILLS FOR SUCCESS As a pharmacy technician you will need to have good interpersonal skills to deal with customers and patients. You should be able to communicate clearly and effectively, both in person and in writing. You will also need good math skills to be able to accurately measure doses of medication. As technology advances, you will need to be able to use computers to enter patient information and fill prescriptions.

What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do?

A pharmacy technician is an important member of a healthcare team. They help pharmacists dispense prescription medication to patients and perform other important tasks.

Pharmacy technicians work in both hospitals and retail pharmacies. In hospitals, they may work in the inpatient or outpatient pharmacy. They may also work in the emergency room or surgery department. In retail pharmacies, they work behind the counter and may also be responsible for managing inventory.

The duties of a pharmacy technician vary depending on their workplace but generally include:

-Preparing and dispensing prescription medications
-Maintaining pharmacy inventory
-Assisting customers with questions about their medications
-Answering phones and routing calls to the appropriate staff member
-Entering patient data into the pharmacy computer system
-Requirements for Becoming a Pharmacy Technician
There are no formal education requirements to become a pharmacy technician. However, most employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed a pharmacy technician training program from an accredited school. These programs typically last one year and provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in this field. Pharmacy technicians must also be licensed in most states. Specific requirements vary by state but generally include passing an exam and completing a certain number of hours of continuing education each year.

Prerequisites for Becoming a Pharmacy Technician

Most pharmacy technicians hold a high school diploma or GED. Some states require certification, but it is not always necessary to find employment. Many employers will provide on-the-job training for new hires without formal certification. Some community colleges offer certification programs that take about a year to complete, and many of these programs include an externship component

How to Become a Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians play a vital role in the pharmacy industry, working closely with pharmacists to dispense medications and provide customer service. Becoming a pharmacy technician typically requires completing a postsecondary education program and passing a professional certification exam.


Most pharmacy technicians are certified — meaning they have completed an accredited program and passed a standardized test. Certification is not required in all states, but it is recommended, as it can give you an edge in the job market.

There are two main organizations that offer certification for pharmacy technicians: the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcare Association (NHA). Both organizations offer a national exam that, once passed, grants you certification for life. You will need to renew your certification every few years by completing continuing education credits.

The PTCB offers a pharmacy technician certification exam (PTCE), which is a computer-based exam that can be taken at testing centers around the country. The NHA offers a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) exam, which is a paper-and-pencil exam that is offered only four times per year.

Once you have passed either of these exams, you will need to apply for certification with the organization of your choice. The application process will vary slightly between the two organizations, but generally speaking, you will need to submit an application fee and provide proof of your completion of an accredited pharmacy technician training program.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment for pharmacy technicians will grow by 32% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. An aging population and a growing emphasis on preventive care will lead to increased demand for prescription medications. The BLS notes that pharmacy technicians with formal training and certification should have the best job prospects.


In conclusion, becoming a pharmacy technician is a great way to enter the healthcare field. Pharmacy technicians play an important role in the pharmacy, assisting pharmacists with dispensing medications and providing excellent customer service. Although becoming a pharmacy technician does not require a college degree, completing a certified pharmacy technician program can give you the skills and knowledge you need to be successful in this growing field.

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