How to Become A Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians are medical personnel trained to dispense prescription medicine to customers or health professionals. They measure amount for the prescribed medicine, pack and label the prescriptions and record relevant customer data. They also arrange for customers to speak with pharmacists if the need arises and organize and maintain inventory supply.

Most pharmacy technicians work in retail pharmacies or hospitals. If you are interested in this line of work, then the following article would be of great interest to you.

Should I Become a Pharmacy Technician?

The job of a pharmacy technician is a well-paying one with flexible working hours and minimal education requirements. In addition to that, it is a stable career choice, with a sturdy growth expected in the coming years. There are plenty of job opportunities for aspiring pharmacy technicians in the country, with a bonus for those who are willing to relocate to underserved areas.

The following table provides a quick look at the career of a pharmacy technician in the US, with data extracted from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Education Required

High School Diploma or Equivalent or Postsecondary Education Program

Major Requirement

Pharmacy Technology


Varies by State, though license is not required



Key Skills

Customer-service skills, attention to detail, listening skills, math skills, organizational skills

Annual Mean Salary (2018)


Job Outlook (2018-28)

7% (Faster than average)

Career Outlook for a Pharmacy Technician

With an expected growth of 7% in employment for pharmacy technicians from 2018 to 2028, this field offers numerous opportunities. These opportunities are a result of the demand created by the aging population, higher rates of chronic illnesses and advancement in pharmaceutical technology.

Opportunities for pharmacy technicians also vary according to location. For instance, California has the greatest number of people employed in this occupation, with 37,630 persons currently working. This is followed closely by Texas, with 37,200, Florida with 30,080, Illinois with 21,490 and New York with 19,320. The top paying state for pharmacy technicians were Alaska with an annual mean wage of $43,150, California ($42,610), Washington ($42,470), Oregon ($40,920) and District of Columbia ($39,989).

The top paying industries for pharmacy technicians were the Federal Executive Branch and Outpatient Care Centers.

Steps to Become a Pharmacy Technician

Step 1: Complete a Pharmacy Technician Program

The minimum level of education specified by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for pharmacy technicians is a high school diploma. A lot of employers give preference to applicants with some sort of a formal training program. These programs can be easily found at community colleges or vocational schools and generally result in an associate’s degree or a certificate credential. Students enrolled in these programs are given knowledge in subjects such as medications, pharmaceutical technologies, pharmacy law and basic pharmacy processes.

Some pharmacy programs also offer internship opportunities to their students, as part of the degree. Interns are given the chance to work under the supervision of experienced pharmacists to gain valuable insights into the world of pharmaceutical medicine.

Step 2: Learn About Your State’s Requirements

As per data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, most states regulate this profession in one way or the other. This could include requirements such as continuing education hours, exams, fees etc. Depending on the state of employment, pharmacy technicians may receive a license after passing an exam.

Step 3: Consider Getting Certified

Most states and employers do not require pharmacy technicians to hold any particular certifications. However, getting one may be helpful when looking for a job. You can go for a certification through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). Both these organizations offer the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) designation. To get this certification, you will need to clear an exam. Continuing education credits may also be required after every 2 years to retain the certification.

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