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How do I get Pharmacy Tech Training?

J. Beam
J. Beam

According to the US Department of Labor statistics, pharmacy technicians, or pharmacy techs, are positions that are expected to experience above average job growth through the year 2016 in the US. In other parts of the world, including Canada and the UK, similar job growth is expected. Along with many other jobs in the medical field, expected growth may be due to the expected increase in senior population due to baby boomers coming of older age. Regardless of global location, pharmacy techs work in pharmacies helping the pharmacist to process and fill prescription medications.

There are a couple of ways to receive pharmacy tech training and the success of the training in terms of employability may vary from location to location. The reasons for the varied expectation in pharmacy tech training are because of the actual pharmacies themselves. Some pharmacies require a pharmacy technician to have formal education and perhaps even certification, while other pharmacies may permit on-the-job training. Still other pharmacies may require a combination of both.

A pharmacy technician.
A pharmacy technician.

Many community colleges and tech-prep schools offer short-term certificate training in a variety of fields and this includes pharmacy tech training. You can expect a course in pharmacy tech training to take an average of four quarters at a community college, but some schools may offer pharmacy tech training in a shorter time period. Typical course work includes basic pharmacology, some medical terminology, a study of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and basic computer and communication skills.

Pills from a pharmacy.
Pills from a pharmacy.

Due to the increased demand in many pharmacies, there may be fewer pharmacies willing to hire a pharmacy assistant, which is the individual who takes the prescription, processes insurance information and enters customer data prior to the actual processing and filling of the prescription, and train them. On-the-job pharmacy tech training may be more difficult to find since pharmacies are busier and many will probably demand some training prior to hiring. If you are lucky enough to find a pharmacy willing to provide on-the-job training, they will likely be interested in hiring you as a pharmacy assistant and it could take a couple of years to receive all the training necessary to be a pharmacy tech. Even though this may qualify you to work in a specific pharmacy, on-the-job pharmacy tech training may not qualify you to work at other pharmacies.

In most cases, pharmacy tech training can be obtained through local community colleges or smaller, independent tech schools. The tuition rates and length of course time will vary with each school, but if the end result is a pharmacy tech certificate, this may be the only difference. Before enrolling in a pharmacy tech training program, ask if the institution provides job placement services and helps prepare students for any certification or licensing requirements for the individual’s state. Also check with local chain pharmacies and even hospital pharmacies to ask what qualifications they look for in a pharmacy technician.

Having an idea of what skills and training are required by most facilities, you will be better prepared to determine where and how you would like to receive your training. There are also online pharmacy tech training courses available, but be sure they correspond with any state requirements before enrolling.

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    • A pharmacy technician.
      By: mangostock
      A pharmacy technician.
    • Pills from a pharmacy.
      By: kubais
      Pills from a pharmacy.