What will I learn on a Pharmacy Technician Program
Aspiring Pharmacy Technicians that don’t want to invest the time or money toward a formal degree can work to earn a certificate through a pharmacy technician program. This is ideal for recent high school graduates or individuals looking to change or jumpstart their careers.
A pharmacy technician program typically provides education and training on a variety of topics related to the field of pharmacy. This can include:
- Medical terminology and abbreviations
- Anatomy and physiology
- Pharmacy calculations and dosage forms
- Drug classification and interactions
- Sterile compounding techniques
- Pharmacy law and ethics
- Customer service skills
- Record keeping and inventory management
Upon completion of a pharmacy technician program, students should have a strong understanding of the role of a pharmacy technician and be prepared to work in a variety of settings, including retail pharmacies, hospitals, and long-term care facilities.
Pharmacy training programs provide students with several advantages. It allows them to explore the field through hands-on experience and a combination of classroom and online learning.
Learn more about pharmacy technician programs, salary expectations and job outlook. We will also look at the best schools to train through.
Purpose of Training Program
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) is the accrediting body for all programs. These ASHP-accredited programs are available at many community colleges and vocational schools.
According to this model, a Pharmacy Technician Training Program (PTTP) aims to train and prepare qualified student applicants to sit for the Certified Pharmacy Technician exam. Most pharmacy technician training programs take a year or less to complete.
Students will learn pharmacy-related concepts and the duties of a pharmacy technician. This includes assisting the registered pharmacist in serving patients, maintaining medication and inventory control systems, and improving efficiency in the administration and management of pharmacy practice.
All pharmacy technician courses will comprise of a didactic, simulated (lab), and experiential program. This includes an externship where pharmacy technician students can apply and practice their skills in a real work environment. Students can be placed in a retail pharmacy, nursing home, hospital, or outpatient clinic.
Important topics covered in the Pharmacy Technician Training Program include:
- Role of the Pharmacy Technician
- State Laws and Regulations
- Pharmacy Law and Ethics
- Drug Regulation and Control
- Pharmaceutical Terminology
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Healthcare Systems
- Pharmaceutical Calculations and Measurements
- Infection Control and Safety
- Health Care Compliance
To earn a certification from the PTCB, pharmacy techs must have a high school diploma or GED. They must also pass a certification exam, and disclose past criminal activity.
Successful completion will result in a decent salary and a rewarding career outlook. Graduates can seek entry-level pharmacy technician positions in private pharmacies, outpatient clinics, hospitals, nursing facilities, and pharmaceutical companies.
Prospects for Employment and Salary Expectations
The job outlook is bright in the Pharmacy Technician profession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for pharmacy technicians is expected to grow by 5% from 2021 to 2031.
This is due to the expansion of new drug discoveries, a large population of the elderly, and the higher rates of diseases that demand more prescription medication orders.
These advancements mean demand for pharmacy technicians is expected to remain high. Pharmacists are called away more often to perform more patient care activities. This means pharmacy technicians will be needed to step in and take on a greater role in day-to-day pharmacy operations.
Nowadays, the requirements of pharmacy technicians extend beyond a pharmacy. Qualified pharmacy technicians are filling positions in a wide range of work environments. Many are working in community centers, emergency clinics, hospitals, and even pharmaceutical companies.
More experienced pharmacists are moving up the career ladder or toward retirement. This creates job openings and more career development for pharmacy techs. Around 43,500 openings for pharmacy technicians are projected each year, on average, over the decade.
How much a Pharmacy Technician will make depends on multiple factors, including:
- Experience Level
- Place of Employment or Geographical Location
- PTCB certification
- Job Sector (The industry you work in)
- Specialization (Skills you have and specific job duties you’re able to perform)
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a Pharmacy Technician can expect to earn an annual average salary of $36,740. This does vary by state. The bottom 10% of earners make $28,740, while the highest 10% earn $47,580 annually.
Pharmacy techs in California, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia earn the highest wage on average – between $45,030 and $49,990.
The BLS reports that the top-paying industries for pharmacy techs are:
- outpatient care centers,
- scientific research and development services,
- the federal government.
Quick Facts for Pharmacy Technicians:
- Median Annual Pay: $36,740/17.66 per hour
- Typical Entry-Level Education: High School Diploma or Equivalent
- Work Experience in a Related Occupation: None
- On-the-job Training: Moderate-term on-the-job training
- Number of Jobs: 447,300
- Job Outlook: 5% (As fast as average)
Training Program Locations
It is vital to choose the right pharmacy school to ensure you’re investing your time and money wisely.
Prospective applicants should also be aware that state regulations can and do change. Thus, we encourage you to research your specific state’s requirements before enrolling in a pharmacy technician training program.
Further, licensure requirements vary from state to state. In some states, pharmacy techs must complete some level of college education or pass an examination to obtain a license. In other states, pharmacy techs only need to register.
Obtaining a certificate from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board is recommended as most states require this, and many employers look for this when hiring.
The training program locations on this list are recognized by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
How long does it take to become a pharmacy technician?
Most pharmacy technician training programs take a couple of months up to a year to complete.
Are pharmacy technicians in demand in the US?
Yes! The BLS expects a major increase in job openings for pharmacy techs, with an expected growth of 5% for this industry.
Which state pays pharmacy techs the most?
Wyoming offers the largest salary for pharmacy technicians, up to $49,990 per year.
A Pharmacy Technician job promises a decent salary and a rewarding career outlook. But, your personal career path will depend on various factors.
Education and certification play the most important roles in your ability to secure a pharmacy tech job and how much you will earn. The best way to enter the job market is to take up a pharmacy technician training program and get a PTCB certification.
If you plan to pursue a career as a Pharmacy Technician, you must learn your state requirements, know your training options, and select a school best suited to your career goals.