The position of a pharmacy technician is a steady medical job, where the techs work alongside pharmacists in a pharmacy.
They provide customer service, work with prescription medicine, and assist the pharmacist in a pharmacy, retail store, or medical facility.
If you are looking into the career of a pharmacy tech, in this article, you will find some useful information that will help you understand how to start and which paths lay ahead of you.
Article Table of Contents
Education and Training to Get Started
Typically, you need only a high school diploma or equivalent and on-the-job training after you are hired.
However, some states require you to be certified in the field.
The employer may prefer certification as well.
Additionally, having a certification may help you stay ahead of the competition.
The pharmacy technician certification can be acquired through a training program or an exam.
Through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board, you can get a certification by passing the exam.
With the National Healthcareer Association, however, you need to complete a training program or have one year of experience.
One option is attending a post-secondary training program through a vocational school or a community college.
Through this program, you will learn about medications, pharmacy ethics, dispensing medication, pharmacy-related arithmetic, and more.
Typically, you also get some hands-on clinical experience in a pharmacy.
The programs last up to one year.
You can also go for an associate’s degree, which may last longer.
It’s better to choose a program accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.
Career Paths and Specialties
Pharmacy technicians can be employed in retail settings or medical facilities, and different settings may have a different focus.
For example, in medical facilities, pharmacy techs may bring medication to patients.
These duties may vary depending on the type of facility (hospital, long-term care, etc.).
In a retail setting, however, you may work in a department store, corporate pharmacy, or grocery store.
Pharmacy techs can also work outside a retail or medical setting.
You could also be employed in a mail-order pharmacy, research lab, health insurance company, college, or a pharmaceutical company.
Also, you can obtain additional certifications, courses, degrees, or on-the-job training to become specialized.
Some specialties for pharmacy techs include compounding, HIV treatment, vaccines and immunization, chemotherapy, automated medication dispensing, or sterile products.
If you want to work in a pharmacy but in a different position, you can get a job as a pharmacy aide or enroll in an educational program for a pharmacist.
In a different setting than a pharmacy, you can become an assistant or technician in a different capacity in the medical field.
For example, you can start working as a dental assistant, medical assistant, ophthalmic medical technician, medical records, and health information technician.
You can become a pharmacy tech with only a high school degree, but if you want to advance your career, you can get certified to advance to the next level.
Then, you can move to higher positions, such as hospital day lead technician, pharmacy technician instructor, or pharmacy affairs program manager.
If you want to advance your career, you can use your pharmacy tech experience to gradually move to a pharmacist career.
Starting a career as a pharmacy technician is fairly easy.
There are also similar options in the medical field, or you can start as a pharmacy tech and find advancement opportunities.
With this career, you get in a steady medical position, which can be a stepping-stone to a different role or a long-term career.