How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in 5 Steps

So you want to become a pharmacy technician? Great! Here are 5 steps to help you on your way to a successful career in pharmacy tech.

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Introduction

So, you want to be a pharmacy technician? Pharmacy technicians play an important role in the healthcare industry, working closely with pharmacists to dispense medication and provide customer service. If you’re detail-oriented, good with numbers, and interested in helping people, a career as a pharmacy tech may be a good fit for you.

Becoming a pharmacy technician is a relatively straightforward process that usually takes around six months to complete. Here’s an overview of what you can expect:

Step 1: Complete a formal education program
Most pharmacy technicians complete a formal education program at a community college or vocational school. Programs typically last one to two years and include both classroom and clinical components.

Step 2: Pass the certification exam
After completing an education program, you’ll need to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) to become certified. The PTCE is administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).

Step 3: Apply for state licensure (optional)
While certification is not required in all states, some states do require pharmacy technicians to be licensed. Check with your state board of pharmacy for licensure requirements in your area.
Step 4: Find a job Once you have completed your education and training requirements, you’ll be ready to start looking for a job as a pharmacy technician. There are several avenues you can pursue, including working in a retail pharmacy, hospital, or long-term care facility.

Step 5: Maintain your certification Once you are certified, you’ll need to renew your certification every two years by completing 20 hours of continuing education and paying a renewal fee.

Step One: Researching the Field of Pharmacy Technician

The first step to becoming a pharmacy technician is to research the field of pharmacy. Pharmacy technicians work in various settings, including hospitals, retail pharmacies, and long-term care facilities. They assist pharmacists in dispensing prescription medications and provide customer service to patients.

To become a pharmacy technician, you will need to complete a pharmacy technician training program. These programs are typically offered by community colleges, technical schools, and online colleges. They generally take one to two years to complete and lead to a certificate or associate degree.

Pharmacy technician programs typically include coursework in medical terminology, pharmacology, pharmaceutical calculations, chemistry, and pharmacy law. Students also gain hands-on experience through internships or externships with local pharmacies. Upon completion of a training program, students must pass a national certification exam before they can begin working as a pharmacy technician.

Step Two: Completing an accredited education program

To become a pharmacy technician, you need to complete an accredited education program. There are many accredited programs available, both online and offline.

The length of the program varies, but most programs can be completed in around two years. Once you have completed the program, you will need to take a national examination to become certified.

In some states, you may also need to complete a state-specific examination. Once you have passed the examinations, you will be able to work as a pharmacy technician.

Step Three: Obtaining Certification

Although certification is not always required to work as a pharmacy technician, many employers prefer to hire those who are certified. Certification can also lead to higher wages and opportunities for advancement. The National Healthcare Association (NHA) offers the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential. To earn this credential, candidates must successfully complete a written exam.

Step Four: Finding a Job

The best way to start your career as a pharmacy technician is to find a job in a pharmacy. There are many ways to do this, but the most common is to find an opening through a pharmacy technician program.

These programs are usually offered by community colleges or technical schools, and they typically last between six and twelve months. During your time in the program, you will learn about the different aspects of being a pharmacy technician, including how to dispense medications and how to interact with customers.

Once you have completed your training, you will be able to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). This exam is administered by the National Healthcare Association (NHA), and it is necessary in order to become certified as a pharmacy technician.

After you have passed the PTCE, you can begin applying for jobs at pharmacies. Many stores will require that you have at least some experience in order to be considered for a position, so it is important to start applying early. You can also search for jobs online, or through career centers at your local community college or technical school.

Step Five: Maintaining Certification

After you have completed the four steps to become a pharmacy technician, you will need to maintain your certification. The best way to do this is to stay current on your education and renew your certification every two years.

Most states require pharmacy technicians to take continuing education courses in order to renew their registration or certification. These courses can be taken online or in person, and they cover a variety of topics related to pharmaceuticals and medical procedures. By completing these courses, you will ensure that you are up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry and that you are able to provide the best possible care to your patients.

In addition to continuing education, you will also need to renew your certification every two years. To do this, you will need to retake the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) or the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT). These exams are offered by the National Healthcare Association (NHA) and the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT), respectively.

You can find more information on how to become a pharmacy technician by visiting the website of the National Healthcare Association or the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians.

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