How to Become a Pharmacy Technician by Nick Shepherd

For anyone who wants to learn how to become a pharmacy technician, the following information will help you get a better idea of what is required.

Education and Training

Completing a training program only takes one year and has no prerequisites other than a high school diploma or its equivalent. A one-year certification program is offered by community colleges, technical schools, and online schools. The basic curriculum usually includes English composition, speech and communication, psychology, and algebra. Pharmaceuticals, as well as dosing and administration, are covered extensively in courses such as pharmacology, pharmacy law and references, pharmacy calculations, and chemistry for pharmacy. Medical courses such as medical terminology, medical law and ethics, and human anatomy and physiology are also taken.

Upon completion of a training program, a pharmacy tech can sit one of two exams in order to become certified. These exams are offered by the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians, also known as the ICPT, or the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. Some states require that a technician has one of these certifications before starting a job; others only require the completion of a formal training program.

Having the title of a certified pharmacy technician proves the technician's skill to potential employers, which can mean higher pay, more responsibility, and more job opportunities.

Job Duties

Individuals working as technicians in the field of pharmacy are healthcare workers who carry out pharmacy-related duties under the direct supervision of a pharmacist or other senior medical personnel. Job duties include dispensing prescription drugs to patients, instructing on dosage and usage, managing insurance information, and keeping track of inventory.

Pharmacy technicians can work in a number of locations, such as a pharmacy, hospital, pharmaceutical manufacturer, or a long-term care facility.

As technicians gain more experience, they have the opportunity to advance their careers by becoming certified or taking on a management or administrative role within a pharmacy.


Pharmacy technicians make an average of $28,000 per year, ranging anywhere from $17,000 per year for an entry level position, to $35,000 per year for an experienced pharmacy tech. Technicians with the right expertise, skills, knowledge and experience can be promoted into managerial positions and are able to earn an even higher wage.

A large portion of a pharmacy technician's day is spent speaking with patients, instructing them on how to use medications or medical devices, explaining payments, and helping them with insurance information. Therefore, customer service and good communication are invaluable skills that a technician should seek to perfect in order to increase their salary.

Training to become a pharmacy tech offers a fast-track into the medical field. There are a wide variety of programs available, some of which can be fully completed in the comfort of your own home. After acquiring the necessary knowledge, anyone can sit for an exam to become certified.

This career offers a good salary, interesting and rewarding duties and the opportunity to work with many different people day in and day out. Starting a career as a technician is a great choice for students who are interested in science or chemistry, or who simply want to become a part of the medical field but aren't interested in attending school for four or more years.

Now that you know how to become a pharmacy technician, it is recommended that you thoroughly research the colleges in your area which offer training programs.

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