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How do I get Pharmacy Technician Training?

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  • Written By: Karyn Maier
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 September 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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As with many occupations within the healthcare industry, the job outlook for pharmacy technicians is expected to remain consistently stable. In fact, estimates indicate that openings in this field will continue to increase at a rate higher than most other occupations combined for many years to come. Successful candidates can expect to earn a competitive salary and benefits, which can vary greatly depending on regional economic factors. However, those with formal pharmacy technician training can usually earn more and enjoy more opportunity for career growth as well.

In the U.S., there are no mandatory federal or state regulations that govern pharmacy technician training in terms of required coursework or certification. However, each state does offer a certification exam, which is open to anyone who registers to sit for it. It should be stressed, though, that few people are likely to perform well on the exam without having a basic knowledge of chemistry and pharmaceutical terminology and applications. In addition, while the nuts and bolts of pharmacy technician training are largely obtained on-the-job, most employers give hiring preference to those with formal training and certification.

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The best way to get pharmacy technician training is to contact one of two organizations that administer certifications on a national level: The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians. These organizations can offer direction about how and where to enroll in pharmacy technician training programs. In some cases, they may be also be able to provide information about financing options, as well as any applicable grants.

There are some eligibility requirements that go along with becoming a certified pharmacy technician, however. All candidates must have a high school diploma or GED, have no drug-related felony convictions of record, and no felony convictions of any kind within five years of sitting for the exam. Also, re-certification is necessary every two years, with at least 20 hours of credit-based intake or continuing coursework occurring within the same period. In addition, a minimum of one hour of continuing education must be dedicated to pharmaceutical ethics and law.

An alternative to pre-employment pharmacy technician training is to participate in an employer-assisted program. With this arrangement, the technician combines on-site training under the guidance of a licensed pharmacist in addition to attending classes provided by a college or pharmacy organization on a part-time basis. The employer is often willing to cover the costs of pharmacy technician training up front in full or in part, or on a reimbursement schedule to the employee. This arrangement may also extend to covering the cost of taking the certification exam.

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