How to Become a Pharmacy Technician –
Requirements and Procedure
Pharmacy Technicians work alongside and under the supervision of a licensed Pharmacist. They are responsible for dispensing medications, filling prescriptions, interacting with patients and all aspects of pharmacy operations. The Pharmacy Technician is the pharmacist’s “right hand” but must act under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. They cannot offer advice to patients, nor can they dispense medicines without a pharmacist checking the order.
The Pharmacy Technician is usually responsible for duties such as stocktaking, ordering of medications, maintaining patient profiles and filling in medical insurance claims on behalf of patients.
The process of becoming a Pharmacy Technician differs slightly from state to state, but in most cases, you are required to have some basic training and certification. If you wish to take the Pharmacy Technician examination and become certified you first have to enroll in a relevant course and gain practical experience as an intern.
Here is a step by step guide to becoming a Pharmacy Technician.
Prerequisites for Becoming a Pharmacy Technician
Candidates who hope to make a career as a Pharmacy Technician must meet the following criteria:
- The candidate must be at least 18 years of age
- The candidate must possess a high school diploma or GED
- The candidate must undergo a criminal background check
- The candidate must work through the study material
- The candidate should pass the PTCB examination and gain their certificate as a Pharmacy Technician
- The candidate must complete their internship to gain practical experience
There are a number of personal skills required that cannot be gained through study alone. They need to be part of your personality if you are going to consider this field.
- The candidate must be mentally and physically fit and healthy
- The candidate should possess good customer-service (people) skills
- The candidate should be highly detail orientated
- The candidate should have excellent listening skills and the ability to work as part of a team
- The candidate should have excellent maths skills
- The candidate should show compassion to others
- The candidate should respect the privacy of others and not be tempted to divulge personal information to third parties.
Procedure for Becoming a Pharmacy Technician
- Identify the requirements set down by your state and any state where you are hoping to work in Not all states have the same requirements. Make sure that you are enrolling for a course that is recognized by your state. The institute of study that you enroll with should have this information, or you can contact the National Pharmacy Council.
- Obtain your Pharmacy Technician Certification
Most states prefer for Pharmacy Technicians to have some form of formal training and study. Once you have found out what is required,follow the steps to gain the qualification you need.
- Complete your Internship
Before you can take the PTCB exam, most states require that you complete a practical component in the form of an internship at a Pharmacy. Speak to your institute of learning to find out which pharmacies they are affiliated with.
- Do the Practice Tests
Before you take your final PTCB exam you should take the practice test on this website to get comfortable with the kinds of questions you ae going to have to answer.
- Enroll for and take the PTCB Exam
Once you are ready, you must enroll for, and take, the examination in your state.
- Retake the Exam if you Fail
If you fail the examination the first time you have a certain amount of time in which to retake it. This differs from state to state, but usually, you have to wait for two weeks before you can retake the exam. If you fail three times, you will need to appeal to the Pharmacy Board for special permission to take the examination again. Discover more details on this site in the section on PTCB Examinations.
- Keep Your Certificate Up to Date
You will be required to be re-certified every two years. You need to make sure you are keeping up to date with the latest developments in your field.
- Advance your Career
Once you have worked as a Pharmacy Technician for a year or two there is no reason why you should not take your career further. There are many opportunities as an experienced and certified Pharmacy Technician. Take a look at our section on Pharmacy Technician Careers for more information.
Scope of Practice for Pharmacy Technicians
There is a wide scope of practice within the role of Pharmacy Technician. Below we have listed some of the main aspects of the job, but bear in mind that specific companies may have additional needs. Make sure you are fully aware of your job description before signing your employment contract.
- Collect all information required to fill a prescription from the patient or health professionals
- Measure quantities of medicines and pills for prescriptions
- Package and label prescriptions, ensuring all relevant information is detailed
- Organize the pharmacy inventory and alert the pharmacist to shortages of medications and supplies
- Accept payment for prescriptions and process insurance claims on behalf of the patients
- Maintain customer or patient information and records on the computer system
- Answer phone calls from patients