Pharmacy Tech Career Info

What you need to know about becoming a Pharmacy Technician, including licensing and training requirements as well as employment and salary statistics for pharmacy technicians.

According to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) 2012 Survey of Pharmacy Law, more than 80 percent of states license, register, or certify pharmacy technicians. While the remaining states do not have any special requirements for technicians, most employers do. Most employers require licensing, registration, and/or certification for the same reasons most jurisdictions do—to ensure the safety of the patient and minimize liability on the part of the establishment.

If you’ve ever walked into a large chain pharmacy such as CVS or Target and noticed a large collection of professionals buzzing about behind the counter (white coats starched and conspicuous nametags a’ shining), you probably thought, “Wow—they have a lot of pharmacists at this store.” But if you paused to take a closer look, you may have noticed that not all of the official looking folks behind the counter were pharmacists. Most establishments have one pharmacist (or pharmacist in charge) per shift, and the rest of the workers are usually assistants or, you guessed it—pharmacy technicians! 

Politicians, the people, and industry insiders have debated and disagreed on the topic of healthcare for decades, but one course has remained stable. From the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which were signed into law on July 30, 1965, to today’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), better known as “Obamacare,” the healthcare industry continues to adjust for the times. These positive adjustments are prevalent in all facets of healthcare from the number of new medical facilities erected each year to explosive employment and salary growth in just about every healthcare occupation.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, industries and occupations related to health care, personal care and social assistance (and construction) are projected to have the fastest job growth between 2010 and 2020. The Bureau offers the following data related to healthcare occupations overall: 

Pharmacy Technician

The pharmaceutical industry is a complex, multi-trillion dollar a year industry consisting of chemists and other scientists, engineers, doctors, researchers, regulators, environmentalists, manufacturers, advertising executives, public relations specialists, educators, sales executives, and more. This means, it takes an army to develop effective medications for the masses, but the average person does not see what goes into creating a single pill. Fortunately, by the time the millions of tiny pills, sprays, injections, and other medications reach the consumer, the most difficult tasks are complete. However, this does not mean all tasks are complete.

While the pharmacy’s objective is not to manufacture and market medications, the pharmacy is the last line of defense, so it plays a very vital role in ensuring patient safety. The pharmacy and its staff are charged with the task of making sure the exact prescribed medication makes it into the hands of the right patient. To do this, the head of the outfit—the pharmacist, must have three weapons in his arsenal: (1) a PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy) (2) experience, and (3) a talented team of pharmacy technicians. 

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