You may be wondering if you need a degree to become a pharmacy technician. The answer is no, you don’t need a degree.
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The duties of a pharmacy technician
A pharmacy technician is a member of the health care team who works under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist to help provide medications and other health care products to patients. pharmacy technicians typically have an associate degree or diploma in pharmacy technology, although some jobs may only require a high school diploma and on-the-job training.
The education requirements for a pharmacy technician
While the majority of pharmacy technicians don’t need a degree to enter the field, some employers may prefer or require their employees to have one. There are many certificate and diploma programs available that can help you become a pharmacy technician. In most cases, you’ll need to complete a training program and pass a certification exam to become certified.
High school diploma or equivalent
A high school diploma or equivalent is required to become a pharmacy technician. Many pharmacy technicians begin their careers with on-the-job training, although more and more employers are requiring postsecondary education for new hires. Completing a pharmacy technician program offered at a community college, trade school or vocational school is the best way to prepare for this career. These programs typically last one year or less and lead to a certificate or diploma.
Completion of a pharmacy technician training program
A pharmacy technician training program generally lasts between 6 weeks and 6 months, although this can vary depending on the state you are in. Once you have completed a training program, you will then need to take and pass a national certification exam, such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) or Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT). Some states also have their own certification exams that you may need to take.
The benefits of pursuing a degree as a pharmacy technician
A pharmacy technician is a healthcare professional who works closely with pharmacists and patients. They help pharmacists dispense prescription medication and provide other customer service duties. Many pharmacy technicians choose to pursue a degree in order to advance their career. A degree can provide pharmacy technicians with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in their field.
Increased job opportunities
By possessing a degree, pharmacy technicians can qualify for many of the same jobs as a registered pharmacist. With a degree, technicians are often able to find supervisory or head pharmacy technician positions, which may come with an increase in pay. They may also be eligible for certain careers in the pharmaceutical industry that are not available to those without a degree.
Higher earning potential
Earning a degree or completing a certificate program to become a pharmacy technician can lead to better job prospects and higher wages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $32,710 in May 2018, with the top 10 percent of workers earning more than $47,120.1 And, jobs for pharmacy technicians are projected to grow 12 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than the average for all occupations.2
While you can find work as a pharmacy technician with just a high school diploma, earning a degree or completing a certificate program can lead to better job prospects and higher wages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $32,710 in May 2018, with the top 10 percent of workers earning more than $47,120.1 And, jobs for pharmacy technicians are projected to grow 12 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than the average for all occupations.2
Earning your degree or completing a certificate program from an accredited pharmaceutical services program can help you qualify for these higher-level positions and earn the best possible salary in this growing field.
Greater job satisfaction
A degree will help you further your career and give you the opportunity to explore other areas of pharmacy. With a degree, you will be able to work as a clinical pharmacy technician, a research pharmacy technician, or even an educator. You will also be able to advance to a higher position within your company. If you are looking for greater job satisfaction, then pursuing a degree may be the best option for you.