Pharmacy Technician Training

A pharmacy technician is the person who often provides service with a smile behind the counter of every pharmacy. Trained to assist pharmacists in all aspects of their jobs, pharmacy technicians can be found working in pharmacies, hospitals and even nursing homes.

Those with pharmacy technician training are vital members of the pharmacy team. Because they will be directly handling pharmaceuticals, they must possess above-average ability in the areas of math, science, chemistry and statistics. They also must have “people skills,” which will aid them in providing the best service to all customers.

Prescription medication usage is on the rise the United States: 34 percent of all adults use at least one prescription medication per month; 11.5 percent of adults use three or more prescription drugs; and 6.5 percent of American adults are taking four or more prescription drugs. Pharmacy technicians therefore have stable jobs, as the numbers for prescription usage are only expected to rise as new and improved medications become available on the market.

Pharmacy Technician Training and Education

No formal training is required to work as a pharmacy technician. However, most pharmacies prefer to employ technicians who have completed a certificate or associate degree program in pharmacy technology.

Most states require pharmacy technicians to receive certification through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. In order to qualify to sit for the exam, students must first complete formal training through a pharmacy technician program. These programs are available through technical and trade schools, as well as some community colleges.

The best pharmacy technician training programs provide coursework in the following areas: administration, pharmaceutical calculations, anatomy and physiology, nutrition, pharmacology, medical terminology, digestive/respiratory/reproductive systems, and healthcare systems.
In addition to learning the medical aspects of the job, pharmacy technicians must also master the art of providing good customer service. A great portion of performing the duties of a pharmacy technician is dealing with the general public. Being friendly and courteous are two key ingredients to doing well in this position.

In addition to the traditional classroom setting, there also are a variety of online pharmacy technician training programs available to students. The majority of these programs offer a combination of textbook learning with online assignments and exams. Students who prefer to earn their degree from the comfort of their own homes have plenty of options to do so with pharmacy technician training online.

In addition to online certification programs, the National Pharmacy Technician Association also provides its own pharmacy technician training online program. Students can expect to spend six months to a year to complete the program.

Pharmacy Technician Training Jobs Future Growth and Outlook

As the population of older Americans increases, so does the use of prescription medications. Advances in pharmaceutical research also are increasing, which only helps the demand for trained pharmacy technicians to grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 32 percent increase in demand for this profession by the year 2020.

The median annual salary for a trained pharmacy technician is around $32,400 for those working in a hospital setting. Those working in pharmacies and drug stores can expect to earn roughly $28,000 annually.

Article by Shari Berg,