Many pharmacy technicians earn a certificate through a one-year college program. However, you can get a technician job with a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training.
Much of the role of a technician involves performing basic prescription-measuring and customer-service tasks. Therefore, many pharmacies provide on-the-job training for the right candidates who have a high school diploma but no postsecondary degree. However, enrolling in a technician degree program gives you a leg up because you complete coursework in math, medication dispensing and pharmacy law, all of which are important to the job. States regulate technician jobs, so you may need certification. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, two organizations offer certification: the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the National Healthcareer Association, State certification might involve background checks and an exam. Some states require formal training or education as well.
During education or training, you need to build important skills to perform well in a pharmacy technician role. Math skills are vital given that much of the job involves counting pills or measuring liquid medicines. Detail-orientation and listening skills help you follow directions from pharmacists, doctors and insurance companies. Customer-service skills are important since you interact directly with customers on a regular basis.
2016 Salary Information for Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians earned a median annual salary of $30,920 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, pharmacy technicians earned a 25th percentile salary of $25,170, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $37,780, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 402,500 people were employed in the U.S. as pharmacy technicians.