Do you like the idea of working in the medical field? Do you want to do this without having to work one-on-one with patients or spend years of your life in nursing or medical school?
Luckily for you, there are lots of jobs in the medical field that don’t require any of these things.
For example, you could work as a pharmacy technician. Pharmacy technicians are in high demand these days, and the demand is expected to grow in the near future.
Explained below is everything you need to know about pharmacy technician salary and job requirements. Read on to learn if this is the right career for you.
What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do?
A pharmacy technician works in a pharmacy under the direction of a licensed pharmacist. They are responsible for dispensing medications to and interacting with customers.
According to Ultimate Medical Academy, pharmacy technicians count, weight, measure, pour, and mix medications on a daily basis. They also choose containers for these medications and attach their labels.
Sometimes, pharmacy technicians carry out additional duties, such as stocking inventory, maintaining customer profiles, and completing forms for insurance claims.
Pharmacy technicians do not answer customer questions about medications or general health. They always direct these questions to the licensed pharmacist on staff.
Perks of Working as a Pharmacy Technician
There are many benefits that come with working as a pharmacy technician, including the following:
- Work in a growing field
- Fast certification process
- Help others in a service-oriented position
- Work on your feet and with your hands every day
As with many other positions in the medical field, you don’t have to stop at being a pharmacy technician. If you wish, this certificate can be the first step on your path to a more advanced medical career.
Average Pharmacy Technician Salary
According to the most recent data, the median salary for pharmacy technicians in the United States is $31,750 per year. Most technicians get paid on an hourly basis, with the hourly wage being a little over $15 per hour.
Expected Job Growth for Pharmacy Technicians
The great thing about a career as a pharmacy technician is the fact that the field is growing so quickly. In fact, it’s expected to grow by 12 percent by the year 2026. This rate is faster than the average growth rate of all careers in the U.S.
Part of the increased number of jobs in this field is the increase in demand for prescription medications in the U.S.
As the country’s population gets older and requires more medications to maintain their quality of life, the demand for all health care professionals — including pharmacy technicians — will likely continue to increase.
Traits of a Great Pharmacy Technician
Do you have what it takes to be a great pharmacy technician? Pharmacy technicians who excel in their field often possess the following traits:
- Attention to detail
- Ability to listen and retain information
- Strong work ethic
- Ability to prioritize various tasks
- Integrity and commitment to following ethical codes
- Good math skills
Pharmacy technicians must also be well-organized and able to juggle several different tasks at once.
Pharmacy Technician Job Requirements
The requirements you must meet to work as a pharmacy technician vary by state.
In general, though, you’ll need to make sure you meet the following requirements before you can start working in a pharmacy:
Complete a Postsecondary Education Program
In a few states — Pennsylvania, Colorado, Hawaii, District of Columbia, Delaware, Michigan, and New York — no training is required. You just need a high school diploma or equivalent.
Outside of these states, you must complete additional schooling, either in an online setting or in-person, outside of receiving a high school diploma.
During these courses, you’ll study a variety of topics, including the following:
- Pharmacy law
- Pharmacy ethics
- Pharmaceutical calculations
- Medical terminology
- Healthcare systems
You can usually complete the coursework for most pharmacy technician training programs in less than a year.
Complete On-the-Job Training
In addition to completing a certification course (if you live in a state that requires one), you’ll also need to complete on-the-job training.
Most certification programs help you to find local pharmacies where you can complete your training, sometimes at the same time that you’re studying to obtain your license.
You may complete your training in a pharmacy affiliated with a local drug or grocery store. You may also train at a pharmacy that is part of a doctor’s office, hospital, or another medical center.
Pass Your Licensing Exam
After completing your coursework and on-the-job training, it’s time for you to take and pass your licensing exam.
Even if you live in a state that doesn’t require licensing to work as a pharmacy technician, you may still want to consider taking your licensing exam. This shows that you are dedicated to the healthcare field and sets you apart from other applicants.
In some states, despite what the laws say, some pharmacies only hire those who have received a license from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the National Healthcareer Association.
Maintain Your Certification
Once you’ve passed your exam, you can start applying for jobs as a pharmacy technician. You may even be able to get hired at the pharmacy where you completed your on-the-job training.
Remember that, once you’ve obtained your certification, you’ll need to keep it current. This means taking and passing a recertification exam once every two years.
Before sitting for the recertification exam, you also must complete 20 hours of continuing education coursework.
Start Becoming a Pharmacy Technician Today
A career as a pharmacy technician is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to earn a good salary and enjoy the security that comes with a high-demand job in the medical field.
Now that you know more about a pharmacy technician salary, job requirements, and what to expect from the job, do you think it’s a good fit for you?
If so, it’s time to start working toward getting your license.
If you’re nervous about studying and preparing for your licensing exam, we’ve got resources for you.
Start by checking out this article on ten great study tips for tests. Once you implement these tips, you’ll feel confident and ready to conquer that exam!