How to Become a Pharmacy Technician
The pharmacy technician role is a technical line of work that requires administrative, medical, and customer service skills within a busy pharmacy setting. You will need the proper training, certification, and licensure before you can become a pharmacy technician in Arizona or any other state. Take the first step in pursuing this career path by learning about the process of becoming a pharmacy technician.
Step 1. Apply for Pharmacy Technician Training Program
To become a pharmacy tech, you’ll need to apply for a training program that equips you with the skills and knowledge to handle real-life situations in a pharmacy. Most pharmacy technician training programs, including Arizona College, only require a high school diploma to apply.
Step 2. Complete Pharmacy Technician Training from an Accredited Institute
Completing an accredited pharmacy technician program is the necessary first part of transitioning into this rewarding career. The hands-on training and in-depth coursework offered in the program will prepare you to pass the certification and licensing exams that are required to work as a certified pharmacy technician.
When choosing a pharmacy tech program, make sure you find a school that has modern technology, experienced lecturers, and training for real pharmacy situations. Checking program accreditation is a good way to tell if a program satisfies these requirements. Arizona College’s Pharmacy Technician Training Program includes the following:
- Training in pharmacy laboratories and modern facilities
- Lectures led by experienced pharmacists
- Labs that provide hands-on experience with technical equipment
- Computer training with pharmacy management software
How long is Pharmacy Tech School?
Program length varies by school, with the program at Arizona College taking 34 weeks to complete. This includes 30 weeks of pharmacy technician coursework and a 4-week externship.
Step 3. Find an Externship and Gain Real-Life Experience
At Arizona College, an externship is actually part of our program, and all students participate in a 4-week externship following the coursework. This externship is necessary to complete our Pharmacy Technician program and requires that you obtain a pharmacy technician trainee license.
Step. 4 Get Your Pharmacy Technician Trainee Licensing
To participate in the Arizona College externship program and ultimately become a pharmacy technician, you must first receive a Trainee License from the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy.
The pharmacy technician trainee license is intended for people who have not yet passed the PTCB examination (Pharmacy technician Certified Board). For more information on obtaining this licensure, please refer to the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy.
Step 5. Become Certified Pharmacy Technician
Once you complete the pharmacy tech training, externship experience, and obtain your Trainee Licensing, you will take the certification exam to become a pharmacy tech. For more information on how to become certified and licensed, visit the Arizona College Pharmacy Technician Certification page.
Step 6. Reverification and Continuing Education
While working in the pharmacy technician profession, you will need to enroll in continuing education to maintain your licensure. Every two years, certified technicians must complete a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education. For more information on pharmacy technician licensure reverification, please refer to the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board.
How Being a Pharmacy Technician is Different Than Other Allied Health Careers
A pharmacy technician is a highly specialized role and does require special certifications and licensing before you can enter the workforce. Customer care and interaction is also a requirement that not all allied health careers share. Pharmacy technician is an ideal position for someone who prefers a flexible schedule, since work hours can be during the day, evening, weekends and holidays.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an independent agency that analyzes economic statistics, healthcare is the fastest growing industry in the country. Upwards of 60% of the jobs within the industry are allied health careers, which means there is ample opportunity for those that hold degrees and certifications. Among these fast growing jobs is pharmacy technicians, which the BLS estimates as having a 7% growth rate.
As the average lifespan increases and more medications are developed, the need grows for qualified pharmacy technicians. These professionals work with sensitive materials and technical equipment and provide vital support for pharmacists and patients alike in all work environments, which range from local pharmacies to hospitals.