Pharmacology is the science that focuses on the study and research of medications to treat and sometimes even cure illnesses or any other affliction an individual might be suffering.
There are mainly three professions in this area, Pharmacologists, Pharmacists, and Pharmacy Technicians.
In the next few sections, we’ll highlight the main facts about Pharmacy Technicians, the necessary steps to become one, and the cost of Pharmacy Technician Training.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Pharmacy Technician?
- What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do?
- What Is the Difference Between a Pharmacist and a Pharmacy Technician?
- How Do I Become a Pharmacy Technician?
- How Long Does Pharmacy Technician Training Last?
- How Much Does Pharmacy Technician Training Cost?
What Is a Pharmacy Technician?
A Pharmacy Technician assists Pharmacists in their everyday tasks, such as dispensing medicines to patients, customers, or other healthcare professionals, depending on the setting or facility where they work.
What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do?
As previously mentioned, a Pharmacy Technician works along with Pharmacists to dispense medicines that have been prescribed by physicians to people.
Other duties of Pharmacy Technicians involve keeping control of inventory, organizing and updating patient’s information on a computer system, handling payments and insurance claims, as well as having direct contact with patients or customers.
It’s important to mention that certain duties must be performed only under the direct supervision of the Pharmacist.
What Is the Difference Between a Pharmacist and a Pharmacy Technician?
The main difference between these two healthcare professionals lies in their educational backgrounds.
To become a Pharmacist, individuals must have a minimum of two years of undergraduate education and then pursue a Doctor in Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) degree.
Pharmacy Technicians, on the contrary, have a much more basic education, which means that their responsibilities are limited.
How Do I Become a Pharmacy Technician?
There are two ways in which an individual might become a Pharmacy Technician.
The first one would be to obtain knowledge and experience by starting to work alongside a Pharmacist.
This is usually called on-the-job training.
The second way of becoming a Pharmacy Technician is to pursue a postsecondary training program to learn the basic concepts of this career, and in some cases, even obtain an Associate of Science degree.
In both pathways, certification might be necessary, depending on the state where you wish to work.
Pharmacy Technician Training
Pharmacy Technician Training programs are generally taught in vocational schools, community colleges, and universities.
The requirements to apply to these programs can vary according to the institution, but the majority of them ask for a high school diploma or equivalent and pass a criminal and drugs background check.
In these programs, students will learn a variety of subjects, such as medication error prevention and safety, calculations, community, and institutional pharmacy practice, federal and state pharmacy law, as well as recordkeeping and ethics, among others.
Regardless of the option you choose to become a Pharmacy Technician, whether it’s by on-the-job training or by completing a training program, you might still need certification before being able to start working.
In the first case, you would need to take and pass an exam provided by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) to become a CPhT (Certified Pharmacy Technician).
In the second option, you would need to take and pass the test offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), which also awards the CPhT certificate.
The requirements for each exam are different, so it’s important to first check.
How Long Does Pharmacy Technician Training Last?
The duration of a training program to become a Pharmacy Technician can differ depending on the institution where you aspire to study.
But most programs tend to last between nine months and two years.
How Much Does Pharmacy Technician Training Cost?
The cost of Pharmacy Technician Training is going to vary mostly according to the city where you live, the type of institution you choose, and the program you prefer.
For a diploma training program, you could pay from $3,000 to $15,000.
An Associate’s degree could cost between $5,000 and $20,000 per year.
The PTCB exam costs $129, whereas the NHA costs $117.