Some facts about getting a pharmacy technician degree:
- Work opportunities are estimated to be good, especially for those with certification or previous work experience.
- Numerous technicians work evenings, weekends, and holidays.
- About 7 out of 10 jobs are in retail pharmacies, grocery stores, department stores, or mass retailers.
Job Profile of a Pharmacy Assistant or Technician
Pharmacy technicians aid licensed pharmacists provide medication and other health care products to patients. A technician is not to be confused with a pharmacy aide. Pharmacy technicians typically perform more complex tasks than pharmacy aides. Technicians receive written prescriptions or requests for prescription refills from patients. They must confirm that the information on the prescription is complete and precise and then prepare the prescription. Technicians refer any questions regarding prescriptions, drug information, or health matters to a pharmacist.
Job Outlook for a Pharmacy Assistant or Technician
Excellent job openings are projected for technicians with formal training or prior experience. More and more, pharmacy technicians are able to take on more responsibility in a pharmacy.
Income Potential for a Pharmacy Assistant or Technician
Typically, pharmacy technicians are paid on an hourly wage between $9.40 and $16.85. The average annual pay for a pharmacy assistant is $25,000, with a range from $15,000 to $29,000, depending on experience and location. Health and retirement benefits vary by place of work.
How Can One Become a Pharmacy Assistant Technician?
While some pharmacy technicians receive informal, on-the-job training, employers tend to favor those who have finished formal training and certification. Several pharmacy technician education programs offer diplomas while others offer certificates, or associate’s degrees. A background in chemistry, English, and health education is helpful in gaining acceptance into a training program.
After finishing an accredited program, a pharmacy technician or assistant can become certified by taking the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination. In most states this exam is voluntary, but it is becoming more frequent for states and employers to ask for technicians to be certified.