Do You Need Schooling to Be a Pharmacy Tech?

Schooling is not required to be a pharmacy technician, but some form of postsecondary education is typically necessary.

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The basics of being a pharmacy technician

A pharmacy technician is a person who works in a pharmacy and is responsible for various tasks such as customer service, stocking shelves, and preparing and dispensing medications. A pharmacy technician does not need to have a college degree, but completing a pharmacy technician program is recommended.

What pharmacy technicians do

Pharmacy technicians are an important member of the healthcare team. They work closely with pharmacists to dispense prescription medications to patients. In some states, pharmacy technicians may also be allowed to perform certain tasks without the direct supervision of a pharmacist, such as handling customer service inquiries and processing prescription refill requests.

In most cases, pharmacy technicians work in retail pharmacies, such as those found in drugstores and supermarkets. They may also work in hospitals, clinics, or long-term care facilities. Some pharmacy technicians may even choose to work from home, providing they have the necessary equipment and supplies.

The education and training requirements

Pharmacy technicians help licensed pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals. Most pharmacy technicians receive informal on-the-job training, which takes about 3 to 4 months. However, some states require pharmacy technicians to complete formal postsecondary education programs that lead to certificates or diplomas.

Some employers prefer candidates with certification from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). These voluntary certification exams test technician candidates’ knowledge of dose calculations, stock bottle labeling, and other pharmacy-related topics.

Do you need schooling to be a pharmacy technician?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. You do not need a four year degree to be a pharmacy technician, but you will need to complete a pharmacy technician training program. These programs can be found at community colleges, technical schools, and online. They usually take around 6-12 months to complete.

On-the-job training

Becoming a pharmacy technician usually takes between one and two years. Some people may be able to get pharmacy technician certification (CPhT) after completing a formal training program, but many employers prefer candidates who have some experience working in a pharmacy. The most common way to become a pharmacy technician is to find a job in a pharmacy and then receive on-the-job training.

Certificate programs

While not required in all states, many employers prefer or require pharmacy technicians to complete a formal education program. Formal certificate programs in pharmacy technology are usually offered through community colleges, technical schools, and some hospitals. These programs typically take one year or less to complete and include both classroom and hands-on training. Upon completion of a certificate program, students are often eligible to take the national certification exam.

Associate’s degree programs

An Associate’s degree program in Pharmacy Technology typically takes two years to complete, although some schools offer accelerated programs that can be completed in as little as 18 months. These programs prepare students for the role of a pharmacy technician, including coursework in medical ethics, pharmaceutical calculations, sterile compounding, and dispensing of medications. Many programs also include an externship component, allowing students to gain hands-on experience in a real-world pharmacy setting.

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