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Top 10 Helpful Tips on How to Become a Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians take on the very important role of making sure that we all receive our prescription medication and take it as directed. This job position is very favorable among young adults because it is such a great entry-level healthcare career choice that doesn’t require a lot of training and allows you to earn a respectable living at the same time.

How to Become a Pharmacy Technician – Learning About this Career Choice

Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists with dispensing prescription medicine to customers or to health care professionals. They typically work inside of retail pharmacies and in hospitals.

What are the Duties of a Pharmacy Technician?

Pharmacy technicians usually have plenty of job duties to take care of each day, including:

  • Collecting information that is needed to fill a prescription for their customers or for a healthcare professional
  • Measure the amount of medication accurately for all prescription orders
  • Package and label prescriptions correctly
  • Organize all inventory and let the pharmacist know about any shortages of medication or supplies
  • Accept the payment for prescriptions and process all insurance claims
  • Add customer information to the pharmacy’s database
  • Answer questions and address concerns from the customer
  • Answer phone calls and obtain prescriptions that are faxed or emailed to the pharmacy from physicians
  • Arrange for customers to speak with the pharmacist if needed

Pharmacy technicians always work under the supervision of a pharmacist. They will review all prescriptions before they are handed to the patient or customer. In most areas, pharmacy techs can mix or compound certain medications and get in touch with doctors for prescription refills requested by the customer.

Pharmacy techs who work in hospital settings and other types of medical facilities work to prepare a much larger variety of medications, including those used with an IV. They may also make rounds and give medication to patients.

What Type of Training Do You Need to Become a Pharmacy Tech?

Most pharmacy technicians only need a high school diploma or equivalent to apply for a job. They often receive either on-the-job training or they may also complete a postsecondary education program in pharmacy technology either before they apply for a job, or after if the pharmacy will start the program while working for them.

Most states regulate pharmacy techs, and that is a process that might require either passing an exam or completing a training program. The training periods, whether on-the-job or not, will vary in their length and the subject matter, usually based on what the employer requires.

If you are planning to enter your new occupation after you have completed your training programs for becoming a pharmacy technician, you should know that the programs are offered by your local vocational schools and community colleges. Most of these programs provide graduates with a certification after one year or less of training. Other programs may last a little longer, but they will often lead to an associate’s degree.

Pharmacy technician programs cover various subjects including Math that is often used in pharmacies, record keeping, how to dispense medication and pharmacy law. Future pharmacy techs will also learn the different names, uses and doses of many types of medication as well. Most training programs end with a clinical experience period where students get to learn how their new job will be with some hands-on training behind the counter.

To find a good accredited pharmacy tech program, you should check out the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP) website. They accredit pharmacy tech programs that include a minimum of 600 hours of instruction that takes place over a minimum of a 15-week period. There are currently around 309 fully accredited programs available.

10 Tips on How to Become a Pharmacy Technician

pharmacist showing medication to patient

Choosing to become a pharmacy tech is a great career move. This job has a great outlook for many years to come, pays well, and doesn’t require you to obtain a formal education to be hired. Working as a pharmacy tech allows you to work with the public and alongside experienced pharmacists and learn more about the industry.


 Learn About What a Pharmacy Technician Is

You may think that you already know what a pharmacy tech is, but it is likely that you don’t know about all their job duties and what they are trained to do while working behind the counter. Learning more about what a pharmacy technician is will help you decide if you want to take on this important role in health care.


 Get Familiar with the Everyday Duties of a Pharmacy Tech

Pharmacy technicians do more than simply fill prescriptions. They assist patients, work at the counter, file insurance claims, answer phone calls and let the pharmacist know if they are running low on certain medications. These technicians can have very busy and stressful workdays, especially if the pharmacy is short-staffed.


Online research

Research Schools and Programs Offered Both Online and Offline

There are a few different options for getting the training that you need for becoming a pharmacy tech. the pharmacy that you want to work for may offer some on-the-job training or have you joined a training program while you are still working for them. Or you can start training before you are hired by a pharmacy by enrolling in an online or offline program.


 Choose the Right Pharmacy Tech Program to Enroll In

There are several pharmacy tech programs and many different options available for you to choose from when you want to become a pharmacy tech. You need to find the right pharmacy tech program that will work best for you so that you will be able to achieve your career goals and become a successful pharmacy technician.


 Gather Everything You Need to Enroll in the Program

During this time, you will need to gather all the documents and proof that you will need to enroll in training classes. You may need to show your high school diploma or GED to enroll. Or you may need some other form of identification so that you can sign up.


 Make Sure You Have Completed All the Requirements to Enroll

Each pharmacy tech program will have special requirements that you need to complete so that you can enroll in the program. And these requirements may vary greatly from one state to another. So, if you need help with finding out more about these requirements you can get in touch with your state board or the organization that is over your training program to find out if you have covered everything you need to enroll.



 Complete the Program and All Necessary Exams

Pharmacy tech programs only take a year or less to complete, once you have successfully completed your program you will then need to take all the necessary exams that are needed, if they are required.


Find Out Which Pharmacies or Hospitals are Hiring Pharmacy Techs in your Area

After you have received your certification, it is time to start looking for a job at a local retail pharmacy or at a hospital. The duties at either location are basically the same, except if you work at a hospital you may deal with intravenous medication that you wouldn’t dispense at a retail location. If you were already working at a pharmacy before you started your training, your employer will let you continue to work there as a pharmacy technician and provide you with more job responsibilities after you are certified


employment application

Start Applying for Jobs

If you were not working at a retail location prior to your training, you will need to start applying for jobs in your area. Or if you are working at a pharmacy and are looking for a change of pace, you may want to apply for a job at a hospital pharmacy.


Prepare for Upcoming Job Interviews

Take the time to prepare for upcoming job interviews. Think about why you are applying for the job and what led you to become a pharmacy tech. The answers that you provide will help the employer determine if you are a good match for their company.

Is a Job as a Pharmacy Technician the Right Choice for You?

Are you considering a job as a pharmacy technician? It is a good, reliable occupation that pays well and doesn’t require a lot of training for you to be certified. This job allows you to work with the public and help patients receive the medication that their doctor has prescribed for them. Some of the duties that a pharmacy tech will take care of on any given day include measuring out medication doses, collecting payment from patients, and filing insurance claims. The job outlook for pharmacy techs looks god for the next several years and the pay is good considering the minimal amount of training needed. Anyone who is interested in a fast track job for the healthcare industry should consider training to be a pharmacy technician.