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A pharmacy technician performs many pharmacy-related functions under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist. Pharmacy technicians generally assist the pharmacist in dispensing medication and other health care products to patients. Their work is typically a combination of routine tasks in the preparation of prescribed medication (e.g., counting tablets, labeling bottles, etc.) and administrative duties such as stocking shelves, answering phones, keeping records, and handling payment by customers.

Pharmacy Technicians picture    Pharmacy Technicians image

Pharmacy Technician Schools

The material covered in a formal pharmacy technician education program encompasses pharmaceutical techniques, medical and pharmaceutical terminology, pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacy record keeping, and pharmacy law and ethics. Most programs are comprised of a combination of classroom and laboratory work along with a period of internship, in which students gain valuable hands-on experience working in an actual pharmaceutical setting. Here are some schools who offer these types of programs:

  • Penn Foster Career School - This school offers an online, self-paced pharmacy technician training program. Graduates of this program receive a pharmacy technician career diploma and are automatically eligible to take the PTCB (Pharmacy Technician Certification Board) exam.
  • Ashworth College - This college offers online diploma programs specifically for prospective pharmacy technicians. The program prepares students for the PTCB exam, and also offers hands-on training.
  • Everest College - This college offers pharmacy technician career training programs at its campuses located across the country. These diploma programs can typically be completed in less than a year.
  • San Francisco State University - This state university offers a pharmacy technician certification program at its San Francisco, California campus or online, and prepares students to take the PCTB exam.
  • Rasmussen College - This college offers an online, career-focused program that can lead to either the PCTB exam. Students wishing to continue their education will be prepared to enroll in an associate degree in health sciences.

Pharmacy Technician Education Requirements

While there are many paths to take for employment as a pharmacy technician, many employers prefer to hire candidates with formal education, certification or previous pharmacy experience. According to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), education programs are available through a variety of organizations, including:

  • Community colleges
  • Vocational schools
  • Hospitals
  • The military

These kinds of training programs help job candidates reach pharmacy technician requirements by focusing on coursework involving both classroom and laboratory training, covering a variety of subjects, such as:

  • Medical terminology
  • Pharmaceutical calculations and techniques
  • Pharmacy record keeping
  • Pharmacy law and ethics

You can complete many pharmacy technician training programs in as little as six months or as long as two years, depending on the coursework and involvement of the program. Prerequisites for many pharmacy technician training programs require a high school diploma or equivalent. The College Board suggests that students who wish to pursue pharmacy technician training study mathematics, communications and language, and sciences to prepare for later coursework.

Pharmacy Technician Training

Most states require that pharmacy technicians be registered with an official board of pharmacy. Often, the minimum pharmacy technician requirements for licensure and certification are a high school diploma, payment of a small fee and a clear background check. Certification is offered through professional organizations such as:

  • The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
  • The Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT)

Pharmacy technicians who pass exams offered by these groups have demonstrated that they have the proper skill set to help dispense life-saving medications and provide customers with essential medical information.

Certification from these professional groups often comes with continuing education requirements. Certified pharmacy technician requirements include re-certification every two years. To be eligible for recertification, pharmacy technicians must complete 20 hours of continuing education. Up to ten hours of continuing education training can be earned by working directly with a licensed pharmacist, while other continuing education pharmacy technician requirements include college courses, pharmacy associations and other formal pharmacy technician programs.

Pharmacy Technician Resources

Sources:

  1. Ashworth College, https://www.ashworthcollege.edu/career-diplomas/pharmacy-technician/
  2. Everest College, http://www.everest.edu/programs/category/pharmacy-technician
  3. Penn Foster Online, http://www.pennfoster.edu/programs-and-degrees/medical-and-health-careers/pharmacy-technician-career-diploma
  4. Pharmacy Technicians, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm
  5. Rasmussen College, http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/health-sciences/pharmacy-technician/
  6. San Francisco State University, https://cel.sfsu.edu/pharmacy

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Pharmacy Technicians

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Pharmacy Technicians jobs , as of 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

     
Metro Area Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Long Beach 12670 $36,280
Los Angeles 12670 $36,280
Anaheim 12670 $36,280
Dallas 9260 $32,110
Fort Worth 9260 $32,110
Arlington 9260 $32,110
Fort Lauderdale 8400 $32,090
West Palm Beach 8400 $32,090
Miami 8400 $32,090
Sugar Land 8170 $34,600
Total Employment for Pharmacy Technicians - Top 5 Cities Nationwide
Compare Total Employment for Pharmacy Technicians
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Salaries for Pharmacy Technicians - Top 5 Cities Nationwide
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Total Employment and Salary for Professions Similar to Pharmacy Technicians

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Pharmacy Technicians

To find out more about building a career as Pharmacy Technicians, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

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Most Popular Industries for :
Pharmacy Technicians

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Hospital 56,520 39% $31,270
Department And General Stores 35,250 24% $25,350
Grocery Stores 20,120 13% $28,410
Medical Office 7,310 5% $32,110
Government 6,980 4% $36,590
Non-store Retailers 4,350 3% $27,490
Non-durable Goods Wholesale 3,790 2% $28,190
Office Services And Staffing 3,760 2% $30,390
Insurance 1,450 1% $32,620
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Programs
  • Pharmacy Technician

About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

About Education Corporation of America

Education Corporation of America's institutions broaden access to postsecondary educational opportunities.

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Vista
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Programs
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Offers a free trial period so students can attend classes before paying tuition.
  • Provides blended courses that combine traditional classroom instruction with online learning.
  • Lets students connect with peers at any time, and instructors during office hours with online chat rooms.
  • Gives students the chance to participate in externships and clinical training work under the general supervision of college staff.
  • Has accelerated programs that allow students to take the same coursework in a shorter timeframe.
Programs
  • Pharmacy Technician (11-Month Diploma Program)
  • Dedicated to providing  career training since 1975.
  • Has 13 campus locations in Southern California and a campus in Morrow, GA.
  • Provides flexible class times including weekends.
  • Offers curriculum that ranges from 8 month diploma programs to 16-month Associate of Applied Science degree programs.
  • Has admissions professionals available to help students decide which diploma or degree program they should pursue.
  • Gives job placement assistance strengthened by relationships with local employers.
Programs
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Morning, afternoon, evening and weekend classes are available.
  • Offers lifetime career assistance services to graduates, including resume and cover letter assistance, employer networking, and one-on-one employment counseling.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET).
  • 8 campuses located across California, with 3 additional campuses in New Hampshire and Maine and online options.
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Fairfield
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Programs
  • Certificate - Pharmacy Technician

Your success is our priority. For more than 40 years, we have dedicated ourselves to healthcare education because we want you to become the best healthcare professional possible. Our instructors and staff are dedicated to providing you with the in-demand, hands-on education employers expect so that you may thrive in your profession. Pima Medical Institute started changing lives in 1972 when Richard Luebke Sr. and his wife, JoAnn, brought to life their dream of providing students with a quality medical career education.

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San Marcos
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Pharmacy Technicians.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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