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Pharmacy Tech Certification & Training Information

Becoming a pharmacy technician not only the financial rewards, but also the security of knowing that this profession will be needed even more so in the future.

Training to become a pharmacy technician can take from 6 months to 4 years.  In aiding the every growing public need for providing safe and reliable assistance to licensed pharmacists this profession provides more than just financial rewards.


What is a pharmacy technician?

A valuable asset the health profession a pharmacy technician by simple definition is:
Any individual that works in a pharmacy or hospital, under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist, to assists in daily activities for the pharmacist which do not require their professional opinion.


Duties of a pharmacy technician

Below are just a few of the more common day to day duties of a pharmacy technician.

  • Preparing prescribed and labeled medical prescriptions
  • Entering prescription requests into a computer network
  • Assistance in patient drop off or pick up of prescriptions
  • Help answer questions regard the prescriptions
  • Help determine what over the counter drugs can best suite a need
  • Help with over the phone questions and prescriptions
  • Ordering of medications and maintaining the inventory
  • Help in working with insurance companies obtain payments and refilling authority

Certification

To become certified with the title of CPhT one must pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam or the PTCE for short. For those that need re-certification or to continue ones certification, a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education must be taken within the first two years of one’s initial certification. Certifications from State to State can vary so it’s important to understand what is required in which State you wish to become certified.


Training

Having a High School diploma or GED is a prerequisite for any pharmacy technician training. The time it can take to become a pharmacy technician can take anywhere from 6 months to 4 years.  An Associates degree or a Bachelors Degree can be perused to further advance ones career.


Jobs
It has been noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that by 2018 demand for pharmacy technicians will grow by more than 30 percent. This demand comes from the increasing number of middle aged and elderly throughout the country in which medical needs from local and hospital pharmacies will increase.  As this profession can be rewarding having a few of these basic skills can be beneficial as a technician.

  • Professional attitude
  • Excellent communication skills
  • A team worker
  • Outgoing
  • Attention to detail
  • Understand medical terminology

Schools

Universities, community colleges, vocational schools, the military and hospitals are all excellent solutions to ones needs for obtaining an education or continuing ones education in the field of a pharmacy technician. Short term programs can be taken in as little as 6 months and 2 years for an associates program and some program might include an internship. A Bachelors degree will take about 4 years. Such subject covered but not limited to are:

  • Medical and pharmaceutical terminology
  • Pharmaceutical techniques
  • Pharmacy laws and ethics
  • Pharmaceutical calculations
  • Technical Record Keeping
  • Technical and the consumer names of medications
  • Uses of the medication
  • Any adverse reactions of a medication
  • Proper doses of medications

Salaries

Pharmacy technicians can earn anywhere from $13.00 to $15.00 per hour. Some earn more than $19.00 per hour pending on ones skill level and or education. As with skill level and education, the industry in which one works in can have a factor in salary as well. The table below is as of May 2009 for the Industry, Employment numbers, Hourly mean wages and Annual mean wages for a pharmacy technician


Test & Exams
Becoming a certified pharmacy technician requires passing a nationally recognized exam/test as part of the process. Practice test can be found online that are very much like the actual test. Some help guides provide hundreds of questions along with over 1500 drugs listing their technical terminology, consumer names, abbreviations (generics name as well) and the medical effects of such drug. Calculations of drug preparations and much more are also included. The exams or test can be taken online or by means of a test center.