The Complete Guide

Pharmacy Technician

How To Become A Pharmacy Technician and save time and money on your certification
Grant Aldrich
October 1, 2020

Why We Love Pharmacy Tech

$35,000-$38,000
Estimated Salary
Certification Online
Education Needed
No Prior Experience
Experience
2-4 Months
Length

What if you could have a career in healthcare that paid great and also helped people in need? Now what if you could have this career without the need or expense of going to medical school?

Pharmacy technicians fill and prepare prescriptions for dispensing as well as compound intravenous medications for hospitals and organize inventory. They play a critical role in the healthcare field and are well-compensated for their integrity and attention to detail.

If you think you have what it takes to become a pharmacy technician but aren’t sure the job is a good fit for your goals and skills, then keep reading to see what this career offers!

Chapter 1:

What Do Pharmacy Technicians Do?

Pharmacy technicians perform a variety of tasks on a daily basis, Some of the tasks, such as supplying medicines to patients, assembling medicine to have prescriptions filled and providing information to patients and other healthcare professionals about the medication, are done under the supervision of the pharmacist. But some tasks are done on their own, such as managing areas of the pharmacy such like dispensaries.

Senior technicians may also supervise other pharmacy staff in some of their tasks.

You’ve most likely been to your own local pharmacy to pick up medications for yourself or a loved one. And on each of these occasions you’ve interacted with a pharmacy technician. They were the ones who called you up to the counter and who retrieved your prescription. They most likely also asked if you had any questions regarding your prescription. If so, they got the pharmacist for you to answer those. The technician also checked you out and perhaps even called and dealt with your insurance when it came time to pay.

Pharmacy technicians are indispensable members of the healthcare team so it’s no wonder they are always in demand!

Chapter 2:

7 Reasons to Become a Pharmacy Technician

Here are the Top 7 reasons you should consider a career as a Pharmacy Technician:

1. No Prior Experience is Needed

You don’t need any prior experience or degree to begin your certification program – you could start a career as a pharmacy technician in as little as 4 months.

 

2. The Job Market is Strong

As the baby boomer population continues to age, they are in need of more medical treatments and medications. Also, as healthcare becomes more affordable for people, they will seek medical care and many will need prescriptions filled. These are just a couple of reasons why the job market will remain strong for these professionals.

 

3. Various Work Environment Options

You may think that the only place pharmacy technicians can work is in the local community pharmacies. But that couldn’t be further from the truth!

Some other locations you may choose to work are hospitals, nursing homes, compounding pharmacies, and more. You should be able to find the work environment that interests you the most. Plus, these professionals are needed all over the country, so you can choose to live and work wherever you want.

 

4. You Get to Help People for a Living

There is nothing quite so satisfying or rewarding as helping people for a living. As a pharmacy technician, you’ll be able to see the direct impact your work has on others and end your day each day with a smile.

 

5. You’ll Work with All Kinds of People

If you don’t like the idea of working isolated in your own little cubicle, doing nothing but staring at a computer monitor all day, then this may be a great fit for you. Pharmacy technicians work with a variety of people. Not only will you work with co-workers, but you’ll get to interact with all kinds of customers from different cultural and social backgrounds and of all different ages. So if you are kind of a social butterfly, this profession could be a great fit.

 

6. You’ll Stay Physically Active

Desk jobs are not for everyone. If the thought of sitting still all day makes you a little nutty, this could be a great fit. As a pharmacy technician, your job will be very hands-on. You’ll help measure and stock medications, help organize inventory, and walk around helping customers find OTC medications on store shelves. No sitting all day on this job!

 

7. There are Plenty of Advancement Opportunities

If you are good at your job, people will notice and will present you opportunities for advancement. You may decide you want to advance to become a Community Store Manager, Pharmacy Technician Supervisor, or advance to prepare chemo-therapy intravenous solutions as an Intravenous Pharmacy Technician in a hospital.

Also, you can use this career to propel you into a different healthcare career. For example, you may find one day you really enjoy working with people and want to go into nursing. Your experience in this professional with help you advance in many ways.

Chapter 3:

How to Get a Pharmacy Technician Certification

Whether you work in a local pharmacy, a hospital or a nursing home, employers typically require candidates to hold a pharmacy technician certification and demonstrate their abilities to land a job in the field.  So a certification may be the best way to get started in this exciting new career.

We recommend you take our certification savings quiz to get started.

Take the Quiz! >

Our quiz could help you save time and money on a certification program from an authorized school or accredited university – and it takes less than a couple minutes to complete.

5 Things to Look for In A Pharmacy Tech Certification Program

1. Find an online Pharmacy Technician program from an authorized school or university

If you want to start your career the right way, then obtaining proper training is definitely the way to go. Not only will you gain new skills and knowledge, but you’ll have a certificate to proudly hang on your wall.

2. Look for a discount, no upfront payment, and a low monthly payment plan

While these are not always easy to come by, they can be found with some effort and determination. But we wanted to make things easier for adult learners, which is why we have partnered with accredited universities that offer these discounts.

3. Make sure an externship placement is included

Hands-on experience is what will set you apart from other candidates and make you more marketable for the best job opportunities.  The best pharma tech programs have relationships with CVS, Walgreens and other pharmacies for experience.

4. Look for an online, mentor supported course you can take at your own pace

An online education offers incredible benefits to adult students. You can learn at your own pace and on your own schedule. Plus, as noted above, online programs are typically more affordable (if you know where to look!) than a traditional college.  You can then spend more time with family or current work as you work towards the career

5. Find out if textbooks are included in the cost of the program

Pharmacy Technician textbooks can be expensive! Make sure to find a program that doesn’t charge extra for books.

6. (Bonus!) Use our free quiz to find a certification program that meets all of this criteria 

We’ve done the research for you! Save time by using our healthcare quiz to get matched with the best certification programs. All programs meet this criteria and are chosen for you based on your career goals and life situation.

Take the Quiz! >

Chapter 4:

Pharmacy Technician Salary Data

How much do Pharmacy Technicians make? Here is the salary and growth data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

According to the BLS, the medial annual wage for these professionals was $35,300 as of June 2020. Salary ranges can vary based on location, number of years in your profession and certifications. They can also differ based on industry. For instance, some top industries offer a higher medial salary. Typically working in a hospital will get you an annual salary of $38,310.

Most pharmacy technicians work full time. Pharmacies may be open at all hours. Therefore, pharmacy technicians may have to work nights or weekends.

Chapter 5:

Pharmacy Technician Job Growth Projections and Forecast

How fast is the Pharmacy Technician field growing? According to the BLS, employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to grow 7% from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

This growth in demand is due to various factors. As the population ages, more people will require more medications to treat chronic conditions.

In addition, pharmacy technicians will be needed to take on greater responsibilities as pharmacists are increasingly asked to perform more patient care activities such as giving flu shots.

Those candidates who have trained and received their certification should have the easiest time landing a job in the market. Luckily we can connect you with accredited universities that offer this training!

Chapter 6:

How to Find a Job as a Pharmacy Technician

Your first step toward your career as a pharmacy technician is to complete the certification training program through an accredited university. This will ensure a solid educational foundation and get you ready to enter the job market.

Next, you’ll want to determine what setting you’d like to work in. While a majority of pharmacy technicians do work in community pharmacies, there are other options to choose from.

You could work in a hospital setting, in a nursing home, primary care organizations, the military, in a veterinary pharmacy and even in prisons. Wherever medications need to be dispensed, there will be a need for pharmacy technicians.

Once you’ve determined your preferred work environment, you’ll definitely want to gain some critical hands-on experience before starting your job search. The good news is a quality certification program will include an externship so you can gain some hands-on experience!

Chapter 7:

Frequently Asked Questions

Additional questions and answers you may have about Pharmacy Technician.

Q: What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do Every Day?

A: Pharmacy techs help pharmacists dispense medications for customers. You may collect vital information to fill a prescription, measure amounts of medicine for prescriptions, label packages and manage/organize inventory.

 

Q: What is a Pharmacy Technician Certification?

A: This certification is a valuable asset to have because it shows prospective employers that you have the knowledge and dedication for the job. A certification is a great way to set yourself apart from other candidates.

 

Q: What Skills Will I Learn in Pharmacy Technician Training?

A: Your training will prepare you for the mathematical tasks you’ll need to perform every day. You will also become familiar with the metric system. You’ll also learn chemistry, anatomy and physiology, as well as how to track controlled substances and process insurance.

 

Q: What Are the Prerequisites for Enrollment in a Certificate Program?

A: The only requirement for enrollment in these programs is a high school diploma or equivalent.

Chapter 8:

How to Start Towards a Pharmacy Technician Career In 4 Months

Even if you don’t have any prior experience or degree – you could start towards a career as a pharmacy technician in just 2-4 months! That’s one of the greatest advantages of this profession.

So here’s what we recommend you do to get started: Take this quiz to see if you qualify for an online certification program from an authorized school or accredited university.

Take the Quiz! >>

A pharmacy technician certification is required or preferred by most employers. Plus, taking a certification program could be the best way to get your foot in the door, build your network, get training, and work experience.

Take this quiz to see if you qualify for:

  • 10% Off A Certification Program
  • An Externship For Real Work Experience
  • Affordable Programs and Low Monthly Payments
  • No Extra Cost For Textbooks – All Included and Shipped To Your Door
  • Online, Mentor Supported Courses You Can Take 24/7 At Your Own Pace

If you are ready to get started on an exciting and rewarding career in healthcare, then take this short quiz to get started toward your dream!