Take the First Step Toward Your Health Care Career Now!
The pharmacy technician is usually the first person a customer sees when stepping up to the pharmacy counter. You’re part salesperson, part pharmacist support. You spend a lot of time on your feet, but you aren’t standing around doing nothing. Your shift will vary depending on where you work, but it will be similar to the pharmacist’s day. You can expect retail hours, so evenings, weekends, and holidays. If you’re employed in a hospital pharmacy, then your hours can be even more sporadic since they are open 24 hours a day.
You’ll mainly work in either a retail pharmacy or in a hospital, but your duties will be fairly similar either way. Your main point of contact will be the pharmacist you work under.
As a pharmacy technician, you’ll:
If you work in a hospital, you may do all of the above, plus:
The majority of jobs will be found in retail pharmacies located in drugstores or independent companies.
Before deciding to become a pharmacy technician, you need to determine if your personality and soft skills are suitable to the career. Since it’s a very consumer facing career, your interpersonal communications should be good. You’ll be dealing directly with people whose moods may run the gamut. You pay attention to the tiniest details, and you’re super organized—both of which will serve you will in this industry. And, you have a grasp on basic math skills. If you can say yes, that’s totally you, to all those qualities, then you’re definitely headed into the right career.
Here’s how to become a pharmacy technician:
There are two organizations you can get certified through: the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the National Healthcare Association. Both have continuing education requirements every two years from your initial certification.
There will be 47,600 new pharmacy technician positions opening through 2026. More expectations are being placed on pharmacy techs due to the pharmacists being inundated with more patient care such as giving shots. Many tasks were originally delegated to the pharmacist, but these are now being completed by technicians, such as getting certain prescriptions ready, completing paperwork, and overseeing other technicians.
Payscale places a pharmacy technician salary between $9.80 per hour to $18.61 per hour. The average hourly salary is $13.20 in the United States. Actual salaries range between $20,000-$40,000 annually. Your pay will be determined by where you work, your experience, and what state you live in. You’ll find that industries such as outpatient care centers, the federal government, and medical and diagnostic laboratories pay the highest salaries. The top paying states are Alaska, California, and Washington.