Follow these 10 steps to become a certified pharmacy technician and land a job in a hospital or retail pharmacy.
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The role of pharmacy technicians is vital to the daily operations of pharmacies across the country. They are responsible for providing customer service, handling insurance claims, counting and measuring medications, and keeping track of inventory. pharmacy technicians must be able to work well under pressure and have excellent attention to detail.
If you are interested in becoming a pharmacy technician there are a few things you need to know. Below, we’ve outlined 10 steps to becoming a pharmacy technician.
1. Complete a high school diploma or GED
2. Complete an Approved Pharmacy Technician Training Program
3. Pass the pharmacy technician certification exam (PTCE)
4. Apply for State Certification (if required)
5. Find a Job as a Pharmacy Technician
6. Complete On-The-Job Training
7. Maintain Continuing Education Credits (CECs)
8. Renew Your Certification Every Two Years
9. Consider Specializations or Furthering Your Education
10. Advance Your Career
What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do?
A pharmacy technician is a healthcare professional who works in a pharmacy, typically under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists dispense prescription medication to patients and perform other duties, such as maintaining records and billing insurance companies.
In order to become a pharmacy technician, you will need to complete a training program and pass a certification exam. Once you are certified, you will be able to work in a variety of settings, including retail pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics.
Here are 10 steps you can take to become a pharmacy technician:
1. Research different pharmacy technician programs. There are many different education programs available to help you become a certified pharmacy technician. Look for programs that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
2. Enroll in an accredited training program. Once you have found an accredited pharmacy technician program that meets your needs, enroll in the program and complete the required coursework.
3. Pass the pharmacy technician certification exam (PTCE). In order to earn your certification, you must pass the PTCE administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
4. Maintain your certification. You will need to renew your certification every two years by completing continuing education credits and paying a renewal fee.
5. Find a job as a pharmacy technician. Once you are certified, you can start working as a pharmacy technician in various settings, such as retail pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities.
6. Complete on-the-job training. Many employers require new hires to complete on-the-job training before they can work independently. This training may last for several weeks or months depending on the employer’s requirements
If you want to become a pharmacy technician, you will need to complete a pharmacy technician training program. Many community colleges, vocational schools, and private career colleges offer pharmacy technician training programs. These programs typically last from 6 to 24 months and result in a certificate or diploma. Some states also require pharmacy technicians to earn certification from a nationally recognized organization such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcare Association (NHA).
Once you have completed a pharmacy technician training program, you will need to pass a national or state-recognized examination to become certified. In some states, certification is not required but it is strongly recommended.
Once you are certified, you will need to keep your skills up-to-date by completing continuing education courses on a regular basis.
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) administers a nationally recognized certification exam for pharmacy technicians. To be eligible to sit for the PTCB exam, candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent, and must have completed a formal training program or have at least one year of on-the-job training experience working in a pharmacy. Upon successfully passing the PTCB exam, candidates become certified pharmacy technicians (CPhTs).
CPhTs are required to recertify every two years by completing 20 hours of continuing education and passing a recertification exam. Although certification is not required in all states, most employers prefer to hire CPhTs, and some states may require certification in order to work as a pharmacy technician.
The Interview Process
The interview process for pharmacy technician positions may vary depending on the employer, but there are some common elements. Most interviews will include a tour of the pharmacy, followed by a sit-down meeting with the supervisor or manager. The interviewer will ask about your experience, education, and skills, and may give you a chance to ask questions about the position.
After the initial interview, you may be given a skills test or asked to complete a written assessment. These are designed to gauge your knowledge of pharmacy operations and procedures. If you pass these tests, you will likely be invited back for a second interview. This is usually a more informal meeting where you can ask more detailed questions about the job and get to know your potential co-workers.
While pharmacy technicians are not required to have formal education beyond a high school diploma, many employers prefer to hire those who have completed a pharmacy technician program. Many community colleges, vocational schools, and private trade schools offer accredited programs that can be completed in one year or less. These programs include both classroom instruction and clinical training, and some may offer internships or externships to allow students to gain real-world experience.
There are many ways to advance your career as a pharmacy technician. Some technicians choose to specialize in a certain area of pharmacy, such as nuclear pharmacy or compounding. Others become certified technicians or review medications for insurance companies. Some technicians open their own pharmacies.
The most common way to advance your career is to get experience and education. Many technicians start out as pharmacy assistants and then move up to becoming certified technicians. Take the time to learn about the different aspects of pharmacy and how they work together. The more you know, the better chance you have of moving up in your career.
Salary and Job Outlook
The mean annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $33,950 in May 2019.1 Employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.2,3 An aging population and long-term care facilities will require more licensed pharmacy technicians to help dispense medications.
1 US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Pharmacy Technicians,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm (visited September 17, 2020).
2 US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program
3 US Bureau of Labor Statistics
As the health care industry continues to grow, so does the demand for pharmacy technicians. With the right training and certifications, you can start your career in this growing field in as little as 10 steps.
1. Research your state’s requirements. Each state has different requirements for pharmacy technicians, so it’s important to do your research before you get started.
2. Find an accredited training program. Many community colleges and vocational schools offer pharmacy technician training programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
3. Complete your training program. Most programs take between six and 12 months to complete.
4. Pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). The PTCE is a national exam administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
5. Become certified in CPR and first aid. You’ll need to be certified in CPR and first aid in order to work as a pharmacy technician.
6. Get a job at a pharmacy. Once you have your certification, you can start applying for jobs at pharmacies in your area.
7. Complete on-the-job training. Most pharmacies will require you to complete on-the-job training before you can start working independently.
8. Stay up to date on new medications and treatments. As a pharmacy technician, it’s important to stay up to date on new medications and treatments so that you can provide the best possible service to patients.
9. Renew your certification every two years. The PTCB requires pharmacy technicians to renew their certification every two years through continuing education or re-examination .
10 . Keep up with changes in the field . Like any other profession, changes in technology and regulations can impact pharmacy technicians . It’s important to keep up with these changes so that you can provide the best possible services to patients .