Pharmacy Technician Careers

Becoming a pharmacy technician can be a rewarding career choice. This field has good career prospects, monetary benefits and rewards. They assist licensed pharmacists in dispensing healthcare products and medications to patients. They routinely prepare prescription drugs for the patients; for example, counting the tablets and attaching labels to bottles. They refer questions about drug information, prescriptions or health issues to the pharmacist.


A national certification exam, conducted by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board, which is held at various exam centers nationally, must be passed to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT). Applicants must have a high school diploma/GED and must not have a criminal record. Once qualified, they must be recertified every two years.

The criterion for eligibility for recertification is that you have completed 20 contact hours in pharmaceutical-related subjects within the two-year certification period. When allocating contact hours, attendance at lectures, lecture work and on-the-job training are taken into account. In pharmaceutical law it is mandatory to have at least one contact hour. Due to the flexibility, contact hours can be earned from various sources. Up to ten contact hours can be earned by working under the direct supervision of a pharmacist.

Other resources include attending pharmacy colleges, belonging to pharmacy associations, and training programs. However, currently there is no federal requirement for formal training and certification, although some states may have such a requirement. Many employers provide on-the-job training to people and recruit them as pharmacy assistants.

As reliance on their profession continues to grow, more states and employers are requiring these technicians to be formally trained and certified. Many employers offer an incentive to reimburse the costs of the examination. Formal education programs are offered by the military and some hospitals. Private schools, community colleges, and vocational or technical colleges also offer education programs.

Place and nature of the work

They generally work in hospitals, general medical and surgical stores, health and personal care stores, and retail or mail order pharmacies. Their job responsibilities vary accordingly and depend on applicable laws and other state regulatory mandates. They receive written prescriptions and requests from patients for prescription refills. A general practice can also send a prescription electronically.

The pharmacist’s assistant must check the information in the prescription for completeness and correctness. Prescription preparation requires them to collect, count, pour, measure, weigh, and occasionally mix the required medication. They must select the type of prescription container and create and confirm the labels on it. After it is filled, they praise the prescription and submit it. The pharmacist then checks this before giving it to the patient. They may need to prepare insurance claim forms, maintain patient profiles, and create an inventory of over-the-counter prescription medications.

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They must be aware of the latest medicines and their availability. Sometimes they also need to advise the patient on dietary and health requirements. According to available data for 2004, pharmacy technicians earned an average hourly wage of $11.37. The highest figure was $16.61 and the lowest was $7.96.

A career as a pharmacy technician can be pursued in most states even without formal certification and allows working in clean, organized workspaces. It offers a fairly good salary and fringe benefits.