How to Become a Pharmacy Technician

Three Parts:Fulfilling Educational RequirementsMeeting Experience and Certification RequirementsLanding a Job at a Pharmacy

Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists with dispensing information and processing prescriptions. The pharmaceutical industry is steadily expanding, and as the number of pharmacies increases in the coming years, pharmacy technicians will be in ever-higher demand. This article provides information on the education and certification requirements needed to become a pharmacy technician, and tips on how to land a job at a pharmacy.

Part 1
Fulfilling Educational Requirements

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    Know what the job entails. As a pharmacy technician, you will be prepared to help licensed pharmacists provide medication and other health care products to patients. Your job will include counting and measuring medication, managing inventories, and completing pharmaceutical dosage forms, on a full- or part-time basis.
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    Have a high school diploma. In order to pursue a job as a pharmacy technician, a high school diploma or equivalent level of education is required.
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    Enroll in a pharmacy technician program at an accredited vocational/technical college or online program. The programs vary in length, and will prepare you to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam.
    • Many colleges and websites offer online pharmacy technician programs. These allow you to keep your current job and study on your own time.
    • You'll learn the names of drugs and their uses, how to dispense medications, how to determine correct dosages, and other information you need to perform the job.
    • Some programs teach customer service skills, record-keeping skills, and ethics.
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    Consider a training program. If you choose not to enroll in a pharmacy technician program through a college, you have the option of enrolling in a training program offered by a pharmacy, such as Walgreens. You may find it difficult to find employment without first being certified. You'll be trained with the exact skills you need to be employed by the company with which you train.
    • Make sure the training program is designed to prepare you for the PTCB exam. PTCB certification will be necessary if you want to seek employment with another pharmacy.

Part 2
Meeting Experience and Certification Requirements

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    Find a job as a pharmacy assistant. In a few states, you must have several hundred hours of experience working in a pharmacy before you can receive certification. Pharmacy assistant positions require less education and training that pharmacy technician positions, but they gain valuable experience that can give them a leg up when it comes to getting a job as a pharmacy technician.
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    Become certified. To achieve certification with the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board, the following requirements must be met (additional requirements may apply according to state):
    • Compliance with PTCB certification policies
    • Full disclosure of all criminal and State Board of Pharmacy registration or licensure actions
    • Passing score on the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam.

Part 3
Landing a Job at a Pharmacy

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    Start with people you know. Let your college or training course instructors know that you're seeking a position as a certified pharmacy technician. If you gained experience as a pharmacy assistant, ask your manager if the pharmacy is hiring technicians.
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    Consider a wide range of workplaces. Choose to work alongside a licensed pharmacist in a hospital, community pharmacy, outpatient clinic, nursing home or pharmaceutical organization. Now that you're a certified pharmacy technician, you are eligible to work at pharmacies across the United States.

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Categories: Health Care