Pharmacy technicians are essential members of any pharmacy team. These trained professionals assist pharmacists by sorting patient medications, stocking shelves, and much more. If you’re interested in working in the pharmacy field as a technician rather than a pharmacist, this guide will help you understand what it takes to become one. Upon reading this article, you will know the difference between a pharmacy technician and a pharmacist assistant. You will also understand what education and certification you need to enter this field as well as its projected growth over the next decade.
What is a Pharmacy Technician?
A pharmacy technician is a healthcare worker who prepares medications and assists pharmacists in their work. These workers must be familiar with a wide variety of drugs, their uses, and their proper administration. Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists provide medication therapy for patients, many of whom are elderly or have chronic illnesses. They also provide non-therapeutic services, such as keeping inventory of drugs, stocking shelves, and cashiering. Technicians’ work varies by type of pharmacy setting, state laws, and the policies of individual pharmacies. In hospitals, they may prepare and administer intravenous medications, blood products, and other specialty medications.
How to Become a Pharmacy Technician
People interested in becoming a pharmacy technician can start by visiting local health care providers to learn more about the profession and find out how to apply. If you’re already working in healthcare, you might be able to transfer to a pharmacy technician position. If you’re just starting out, you can look for an entry-level position as a pharmacy technician. Before you apply for a position, make sure you know what education and experience you need for that job. Some employers expect you to have a 2-year degree in pharmacy technology, but others may accept a general associate’s degree or certificate. Depending on the position you want, some employers may also require experience as a pharmacy technician.
Requirements to Become a Pharmacy Technician
High school students interested in becoming pharmacy technicians may want to focus on classes such as chemistry, biology, and math. Pharmacy technicians with a 2-year associate degree in pharmacy technology usually need only a high school diploma. Pharmacy technicians may need to be licensed or certified in some states, but this is not always the case. Be sure to check with your state’s Board of Pharmacy to see if you need a license before starting the job. Some employers may require proficiency in computerized pharmacy systems before hiring you.
10 Steps to Become a Pharmacy Technician
Here are 10 steps to become a pharmacy technician. Depending on your state and employer, these steps may vary slightly.
Becoming a Pharmacist Instead
Some pharmacy technicians decide to try to become pharmacists instead — a career path that usually requires a 4-year degree and additional training. These professionals are responsible for filling prescription orders, administering medications, and helping patients manage diseases and manage their health. While technicians specialize in a single pharmacy setting, pharmacists may work in several different areas, such as a doctor’s office, a hospital, or a retail pharmacy. If you want to become a pharmacist, make sure you understand the necessary education and experience you need to qualify. You will likely need at least a bachelor’s degree to enter this field. You may also need to pass state and national pharmacy boards to gain licensure.
Virtually every hospital, pharmacy, and clinic employs pharmacy technicians. This career offers excellent pay, benefits, and lots of room for advancement, making it a great choice for many people. If you’re interested in this profession, make sure you have the necessary education and experience to succeed.