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What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do?

Many jobs in health care require an educational commitment that’s out of reach for many, but here’s an exception. Pharmacy technicians help dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals. They work under the supervision of a pharmacist, who confirms that the prescription is accurate. They receive written prescriptions and confirm their accuracy. They measure out medications before packaging and labeling them. In many states, they can also compound or mix medications. Some technicians specialize in oncology or chemotherapy drugs.

Pharmacy technicians primarily work in retail drug stores and hospitals. In hospital pharmacy, technicians work primarily with IV bags, often under sterile conditions.

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$ 23,000 - $ 49,000
$ 34,000
34,330+
A pharmacy technician checks prescriptions
When it comes to medicine, details matter. That’s why pharmacy technicians need strong math skills in addition to a good memory. (Credit: sirtravelalot/Shutterstock)
A Day In the Life
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Pharmacy technician Chris Hicks in Charlottesville, Virginia
A Day In the Life

Chris Hicks is the pharmacy director at the nonprofit Charlottesville Free Clinic in Virginia. 

He's been with the Free Clinic for eight years and has spent 16 years as a pharmacy technician — long enough to see that no matter the type of clinic they work in, pharmacy techs can make a difference.

To land the most rewarding jobs in this field, you're going to have to stand out, he says, but it’s well worth it. 

"You get to play a small part in healing and treating patients," says Chris. 

Job Responsibilities
  • Collect information needed to fill prescription requests from customers or health professionals
  • Measure medication
  • Understand the names, uses and doses of medications
  • Organize inventory and alert pharmacists to any shortages 
  • Accept payment for prescriptions and process insurance claims
  • Enter patient information into a computer system
  • Answer phone calls
  • Maintain safety by adhering to infection-control procedures and regulations

 

Education + Training

Most employers require a high school diploma or equivalent. Some look for candidates who have completed a program in pharmacy technology from a community college or technical school, but some offer on-the-job training. Programs last from one to two years. In addition, most pharmacies offer on-the-job training to give trainees time to earn the relevant certificates. Most states allow trainees a grace period for certification.

State rules regulating pharmacy technicians vary, but in general, they will have to pass an exam or complete an education or training program to work in that state.

PLUS: Dive into the details about how to become a pharmacy technician.

Pharmacy Technician License and Certificate Requirements

You may need a state license before you can begin working as a Pharmacy Technician in your state, but most states have different requirements, license fees, and application forms. The good news - we make it super easy for you to find what you need to get your Pharmacy Technician License. Enter your zip code to get started.

You May Be a Good Fit for This Position If You
  • Have excellent customer service skills
  • Are detail-oriented
  • Have excellent listening skills
  • Have strong math skills
  • Are organized

Pharmacy Technician Training in Your Area

Coordinates

Pharmacy Technician, A.A.S.

Allen Community College
Iola (61.1 Miles)

Pharmacy Technician Certificate

Allen Community College
Iola (61.1 Miles)
Grayson College logo

Pharmacy Technician Non-Credit Certificate

Grayson College
Denison (239.5 Miles)
Southern Arkansas University Tech logo

Pharmacy Tech Certificate of Proficiency

Southern Arkansas University Tech
Camden (292.5 Miles)
Southern Arkansas University Tech logo

Health Sciences (Pharmacy Tech Option), A.A.S.

Southern Arkansas University Tech
Camden (292.5 Miles)
Lewis and Clark Community College logo

Pharmacy Technician Certificate (Online)

Lewis and Clark Community College
Godfrey (326.6 Miles)
Southwest Tennessee Community College logo

Pharmacy Technician Certificate

Southwest Tennessee Community College
Memphis (352.4 Miles)
Amarillo College logo

Pharmacy Technology Certificate

Amarillo College
Amarillo (366.5 Miles)
Western Iowa Tech Community College logo

Pharmacy Technology Diploma

Western Iowa Tech Community College
Sioux City (374.1 Miles)
Rend Lake College logo

Pharmacy Technician Certificate

Rend Lake College
Ina (378.5 Miles)
West Kentucky Community and Technical College logo

Advanced Level Pharmacy Technology Diploma

West Kentucky Community and Technical College
Paducah (388.9 Miles)
West Kentucky Community and Technical College logo

Entry Level Pharmacy Technology Certificate

West Kentucky Community and Technical College
Paducah (388.9 Miles)

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