A pharmacy technician is a person who assists a pharmacist with filling prescriptions, helping patients, and running a pharmacy. A pharmacy technician who has gained certification in this field is referred to as a certified pharmacy technician. Certified and uncertified pharmacy technicians are typically responsible for performing the same tasks. A person who has earned certification, however, has usually taken a certification exam to demonstrate his knowledge and skill. For this reason, some employers may consider him a more attractive job candidate and may be willing to offer him higher pay as well.
The tasks a certified pharmacy technician performs depend on the needs of the pharmacist. Typically, however, a certified pharmacy technician helps prepare prescriptions for pharmacy customers under the supervision of a pharmacist. This may include tasks such as entering prescription details into a computerized system, counting out the right number of pills, and affixing labels to bottles. A pharmacy technician may also help manage the pharmacy's inventory, order supplies, and handle a range of administrative tasks. Often, a person in this field will also greet customers and help resolve customer complaints.
The requirements a person has to meet to become a pharmacy technician typically depend on where he lives and where he is seeking employment. Most places do not have laws that dictate the amount of education and training a person must have in order to work in this field. In fact, most places do not require pharmacy technicians to secure certification. As such, a person could become a pharmacy technician with no related training and get on-the-job training from the pharmacist who hires him. Many pharmacists, however, do prefer applicants who have high school or equivalency diplomas, have completed pharmacy technician training programs, and have earned certification.
Generally, a person who wants to become a certified pharmacy technician has to take a certification exam, which is usually standardized and multiple choice. To earn certification, a candidate may have to meet other requirements as well. For example, he may have to submit to a background check and be free of felony convictions.
The content of a certified pharmacy technician exam depends on the certification organization that is giving the test. A significant part of the test usually covers topics related to helping a pharmacist give good service to his patients, however. These exams often include questions about managing pharmacy inventory and operating a pharmaceutical practice as well.