How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in 5 Steps

Want to know how to become a pharmacy technician? This blog will give you all the information you need to know, including what pharmacy technicians do, the education and training requirements, and the skills you need to succeed in this career.

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Introduction

Becoming a pharmacy technician is a great way to enter the healthcare field. Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist to fill prescriptions and provide customer service in pharmacies.

While pharmacy technicians do not need to be licensed in most states, some states require certification. Certification exams are administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Here are five steps to becoming a pharmacy technician:

#1: Complete a high school diploma or equivalent
Most pharmacy technicians have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, although some employers may prefer candidates with some college coursework or experience in the healthcare field.

#2: Complete an accredited pharmacy technician training program
While not required in all states, completing an accredited pharmacy technician training program can give you the skills and knowledge you need to be successful in this role. Programs typically take one year or less to complete and include both classroom and clinical components.

#3: Pass a national certification exam
If your state requires certification, you will need to pass a national certification exam administered by either the PTCB or NHA. These exams test your knowledge of pharmacology and prescription medications.
Once you have passed the exam, you will be registered with your state’s Board of Pharmacy as a certified pharmacy technician.

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#4: Find a job as a pharmacy technician To become employed asa pharmacy technician, you can search for open positions at pharmacies in your area or look for national retailers that hire pharmacy technicians, such as CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and Rite Aid. Many hospitals also employ pharmacy technicians. To increase your chances of being hired, consider completing an internship during your education to gain experience working in a real-world setting. Some employers may also require that you pass a background check and drug test prior to being hired. Once you have been hired, most employers will provide on-the-job training to teach you specific policies and procedures related to their workplace. #5: Maintain Your Certification If your state requires certification, you will need to renew it every two years by completing 20 hours of continuing education and passing an exam. You can find continuing education courses offered by various organizations, such as professional associations or online providers.

Step One: Research Pharmacy Technician Programs

The first step to becoming a certified pharmacy technician is completing a training program. Many community colleges, vocational schools, and pharmacies offer pharmacy technician programs that last anywhere from a few months to two years. Some states also have online programs available.

When you’re looking at different pharmacy technician programs, make sure to find one that is accredited by the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE). Programs that are accredited by the ACPE have met certain standards set by the profession and will give you the best chance of success when you take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE).

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You should also make sure that the program you choose offers externships or internships so that you can get some real-world experience before you start working. And finally, see if the school has job placement assistance so that you can find a job when you’re done with your training.

Step Two: Complete a Pharmacy Technician Program

After you have completed a high school program or GED, the next step to become a pharmacy technician is to complete a pharmacy technician program. These programs are typically offered at community colleges, technical colleges, and through private career schools. Online programs are also available but may not be available in every state.

Pharmacy technician programs generally last one year or less and include both classroom and laboratory instruction. During your training, you will learn about medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, drug classifications, and calculations. You will also get hands-on experience counting pills, measuring medications, and preparing prescriptions. Most programs will also include an externship component so that you can get real-world experience working in a pharmacy before you graduate.

Step Three: Become Certified

While certification is not required in all states, it is highly recommended. Certification shows employers that you are committed to your chosen profession and have the skills necessary to perform the job. There are several organizations that offer certification exams, including the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcare Association (NHA). The PTCB offers the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) exam, while the NHA offers the Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA) exam.

Most pharmacy technician programs will prepare you to take one of these exams, and many employers will require certification as a condition of employment. Once you have passed the exam, you will need to maintain your certification by completing continuing education credits on a regular basis.

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Step Four: Find a Job

Now that you’ve completed your training and certification, it’s time to find a job. Start by searching online job boards or contacting local pharmacies directly. You may also want to reach out to hospitals, clinics, or other healthcare facilities in your area.

Once you’ve found a few potential positions, it’s time to start applying. Make sure to include your certification information and any other relevant experience on your resume. You should also take the time to tailor your cover letter to each particular job listing.

After you’ve submitted your application, the waiting game begins. Depending on the size of the organization and the number of applicants, it can take weeks or even months to hear back about a potential job opening.

If you haven’t heard anything after a reasonable amount of time, don’t be afraid to follow up with the employer directly. A simple phone call or email can show that you’re still interested in the position and help move your application to the top of the pile.

Step Five: Maintain Certification

Maintaining pharmacy technician certification is not typically required by state law, but some employers prefer or require it. Most certifying organizations require recertification every two years. Many offer different ways to meet the requirements, such as completing continuing education courses, volunteering at a pharmacy or completing work-related training.

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