How to Become a Pharmacy Technician
Job Duties of a Pharmacy Technician
Skills and Qualities of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy Technician Salaries
Influential Professionals in Pharmacy Technician Field
Leading Pharmacy Technician Organizations
Top Cities for Pharmacy Technician Jobs
Other Careers of Interest
Most employers require formal training and a certificate from their list of candidates. The days of on-the-job training for pharmacy technicians are long gone, and these days you'll have to work hard to be able to meet the demands of an employer. Even though a certificate is not required by law, most of the people looking for a job as a pharmacy technician will acquire one beforehand.
Certification exams are given by the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians and the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. Both institutions have had a very successful history in giving these certification exams, with the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board being the pioneer and current industry leader. The Board has certified more than 300,000 pharmacy technicians since it was founded in 1995. The exam they give is called the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination, and is currently the only exam that's endorsed by the American Pharmacists Association, among others. The Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians gives an exam called the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians. Any of these examinations completed by a candidate means they earn the credentials "CPhT" and the title of Certified Pharmacy Technician.
As previously stated, there are no U.S. federal laws that make it mandatory for all technicians employed to also be certified, but some states still require it. Additionally, most states require that the pharmacy technicians be registered or licensed by passing a state examination given by the respective state's Board of Pharmacy, even if they're certified. Most technical colleges, community colleges or vocational colleges offer training that is key in preparing the student for real-world experience. Additionally, many pharmacies also offer trainings to new employees, as part of their getting accustomed to the work requirements and environment.
Pharmacy technicians can work in all sorts of locations - from hospitals to retail outlets that sell drugs to even more "extreme" environments such as the Army or the Federal Government. Let's also not forget the small percentage of pharmacy technicians that work for Internet ventures such as online pharmacies and so on.
Most of the time, a pharmacy technician will assist the pharmacist in all ways he deems necessary: from handling money and answering the phones to stocking, data-entry, drug preparation and packaging. Of course, in the case of special locations, such as hospitals or nursing homes, pharmacy technicians will have more responsibilities. As the pharmaceutical field grows more and more complex, the role of the pharmacy technician is likely to grow right along with the field in the next few years.
Other than that, you should be computer literate, as you'll no doubt be using a computer to enter the various data into a database, and you should have a steady hand and a lot of patience when it comes to mixing and dosing the right ingredients. Since you'll be dealing with people, it will also be necessary for you to have some sort of communication and people skills. You must be able to communicate efficiently and politely with people who are, in many cases, in some sort of distress or even emergency, should you work at a hospital.
It won't hurt to be certified and participate in as many trainings as possible, to make sure you gather the much needed real-life pharmacy experience.
Depending on the place of employment, skills, certifications and state, pharmacy technicians will make different salaries. The most common salary for a pharmacy technician in the United States lies between $26,411 and $32,689. However, there are the extremes, as in any field. The lowest salary starts at $23,619 and the biggest will top at about $35,612.
A pharmacist distributes prescribed drugs to patients. They also educate their customers and doctors about drug interactions, dosages and the side...