The Complete Guide
How to Become a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy Technician guide to save time and money on your certification
Why We Love Pharmacy Tech
What if you could have a career in healthcare that paid great, is more than just a typical healthcare job 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 the 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!
What Do Pharmacy Technicians Do?
Pharmacy technicians perform a variety of tasks on a daily basis. Some of the tasks are supplying medicines to patients, assembling medicine to have prescriptions filled and providing information to patients and other healthcare professionals about the medication and more. Moreover, these tasks are done under the supervision of a pharmacist. But not the entirety of the work is under a supervisor, some of the tasks are also done on their own, such as managing areas of the pharmacy like dispensaries.
Senior technicians may also supervise other pharmacy staff in some of their tasks like filling and preparing prescriptions, compounding IV medications, and managing inventory.
You’ve most likely been to your own local pharmacy, at some point in life, 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 get the pharmacist for you to answer those questions. 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 and are valuable when dealing with customers and patients. It’s no surprise they are always in demand!
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. If you’re someone interested in beginning a career in the healthcare industry, this can be a good way to start. Most other medical careers take years of study but with these options, students can hope for a place in the field with little experience and financial investment.
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. One of the major events in the past couple of years, the COVID-19 pandemic, has also increased the demand for pharmacy techs – to serve as front line workers and provide people with medicines, vaccines as well as patient care.
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 in are hospitals, nursing homes, compounding pharmacies, and more. With this range of options, you should be able to find the work environment that interests and suits your needs the most. Plus, these professionals are needed all over the country, so you can choose to live and work in any state or city 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 and knowing that the patients are satisfied.
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 and you thrive in this environment, 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 feel boring and 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! Double the reward – not only is your job helping keeps others fit, but also help you stay healthy as well.
7. There are Plenty of Advancement Opportunities
If you are good at your job, people will notice and will present you with 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 profession with help you advance in many ways. Getting wide exposure to the different career avenues without much of a time and money investment is a great aspect of this opportunity.
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. The healthcare industry rewards candidates with professional training and refined skillset and a training program from an accredited school will help you achieve that level. Also, 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. With some challenging economic times and tough financial decisions, such perks can help improve your overall educational experience and make the journey towards a new career easy and exciting.
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 the 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. This can be another way to help ease the burden of financing your education.
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.
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 median annual wage for these professionals was $36,740 or $17.66 per hour as of May 2021. Salary ranges can vary based on location, the number of years in your profession, and certifications. They can also differ based on industry. For instance, some top industries offer a higher median salary. Typically working in a hospital will get you an annual salary of $38,270.
Most pharmacy technicians work full time. Pharmacies may be open at all hours. Therefore, pharmacy technicians may have to work nights or weekends. While this may sound tough, the joy of helping others and making sure no medical emergency is missed is extremely satisfying.
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 5% from 2021 to 2031, 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!
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!
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.
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.
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!