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How to Become a Pharmacy Technician

By Remington College Posted November 9, 2017

A pharmacy technician is a key player behind the pharmacy counter. They help licensed pharmacists dispense medications and devices to patients, and they often cross-review prescription requests with both doctors' offices and insurance companies.

Are you detail-oriented? Do you like to help people? When you follow a recipe, are you precise about measuring and weighing? Then becoming a pharmacy technician might be a fulfilling career path for you.

What do Pharmacy Technicians do?

Pharmacy technicians spend most of their time assisting licensed pharmacists in the mixing, measuring, counting and labeling of medication dosages. They make sure prescriptions are filled on time.

Part of their duties usually entails interacting with both doctors and drug companies. If a prescription has expired, they'll often contact the patient's physician to acquire and updated Rx. If there are billing issues, they sometimes deal with the patient's insurance company.

Unlike licensed pharmacists, pharmacy technicians usually don't advise patients on dosages, side effects and possible adverse interactions with other medications.

Hours tend to be regular, as pharmacy technicians often work in grocery stores, standalone pharmacies and hospitals.

How Much do Pharmacy Technicians Make?

Because of the shortage in the pharmacy field,1 there's a projected employment growth of about 9 percent for pharmacy technicians. That's faster than the average for all occupations.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects there to be more than 34,000 new positions between 2014 and 2024.1

The 75 million aging baby boomers need their prescriptions filled quickly, efficiently and accurately. That means that pharmacy technicians who excel at their jobs can make as much as $43,900 per year.1 The median wage for a pharmacy technician is nearly $30,000; that means half the people in the profession made more than that in 2014, and half made less.1

How Long Does it Take to Become a Pharmacy Technician?

It can take about a year to become a pharmacy technician.

How do you Become a Pharmacy Technician?

The best way to stand out from the crowd is to earn a diploma in the pharmacy technician field. Programs should offer the kind of math that pharmacy technicians use, as well as a basic background in human structure and function.1

Please keep in mind employment and income cannot be guaranteed by any educational institution for students or graduates. Additionally, salary data cited in this article is based on median data provided by the United States Department of Labor, does not reflect starting or entry level salaries, and can vary widely based on geographic location.