How Long is Pharmacy Technician Training?
Posted Wednesday, Jun 6, 2018 by Altierus
Pharmacy technician training programs prepare you for an entry-level position working with licensed pharmacists. At Altierus Career College, we offer a diploma program you can complete in as little as 8 months.
What Do Pharmacy Technicians Do?
Pharmacy technicians work directly under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. Their duties include:
- Collecting and recording information about prescriptions
- Measuring, packaging, and labelling prescriptions
- Tracking, organizing, and helping to maintain inventory
- Acting as first point of contact for customers, both in person and over the phone
- Processing insurance claims
- In some states, pharmacy technicians may be able to mix and compound personalized prescriptions or call doctors to authorize refills
In hospital settings, pharmacy technicians may also go on rounds to issue medication to patients.
What Does the Job Market Look Like?
As overall demand for healthcare grows, so will demand for pharmacy technicians. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy could add an additional 47,600 job openings for pharmacy technicians over the 2016-2026 period—a growth rate of about 12 percent. As of May 2017, the entry-level salary for pharmacy technicians was $22,000, while the median salary was $31,750.
What You Learn in a Pharmacy Technician Training Program
A pharmacy technician training program teaches the knowledge and skills you need to provide safe, ethical service to customers and act as an effective member of the pharmacy team. Topics of study can include:
- Medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology
- Basics of microbiology, including infection control
- Medical/pharmacy ethics and laws
- Pharmacology: how medications interact with human physiology and with each other
- Quality assurance, record keeping, and insurance claims processing
- Medical calculations
- Sterile and non-sterile compounding of personalized prescriptions
You’ll also complete a clinical externship in a working pharmacy, observing professional pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, as well as taking part in hands-on learning.
Certification, Registration, or Licensure?
Most states regulate pharmacy technicians in some way. Typically, the requirements for practice include:
- Holding a high school diploma or GED
- Being 18 years of age or older
- Passing an approved education program
- Passing a certification examination—often the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam—after graduation
Some states also require certified pharmacy technicians to register or obtain licensure. Make sure you know what your state requires before beginning your training program. Even in states without regulation, obtaining certification can sharpen your competitive edge in the job market. That’s why Altierus includes PTCB examination preparation and testing fees as part of our pharmacy technician training program.
Short-Term Training, Long-Term Career Satisfaction
We hope this helped you understand what’s involved in becoming a pharmacy technician. While studying for your diploma and passing your certification exam can take less than one year, it opens the door to a career path that can make a positive impact on your life—and the lives of the people you’ll serve.
Note: All job opening and salary data comes from nationwide projections and surveys provided by the U.S. Department of Labor. Local job markets may vary.