Pharmacy technicians are required to have at least a high school diploma and be certified in the use of IVs. Postsecondary studies are an option, and those who pursue formal education will usually receive IV certification as part of that training. Another option is to attend the two-day training course offered by the National Pharmacy Technician Association (NPTA) in Houston, Texas.
Becoming a pharmacy technician will often require earning IV certification. Those who earn IV certification know how to prepare intravenous prescription drug solutions safely and accurately. Some pharmacy technician training programs include IV certification as part of their required courses. Certification can also be earned through private professional organizations and accrediting agencies. To maintain certification, individuals usually need to participate in continuing education coursework on a routine basis.
|Required Education||High school diploma at minimum|
|Required Training||Hands-on IV training course|
|Skills Necessary||Knowledge of pharmaceutical chemicals, ability to measure drug solutions accurately, familiarity with pharmaceutical safety protocols|
|Other Requirements||Be able to travel to certification training centers*|
Source: *National Pharmacy Technician Association.
Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy technicians assist customers, communicate with physicians and doctor's offices, label prescription bottles and process prescription requests. Depending on their employer's needs, pharmacy technicians may also be responsible for certain administrative duties like answering phones, receiving payments and stocking shelves.
IV Certification Course
Although some training programs offer training in the mixture and administration of intravenous pharmaceutical solutions, pharmacy technicians can also complete IV certification courses through accredited organizations like the National Pharmacy Technician Association (NPTA). The IV certification program offered by the NPTA covers a variety of topics and includes a 2-day hands-on training course in Houston, Texas, which students must attend. Topics covered include:
- Quality control techniques
- Sterilization techniques, including hand washing
- Safe handling of hazardous materials
- Vial and ampule manipulations
In order to maintain the IV certification, pharmacy technicians must complete continuing education courses. In general, pharmacy technicians can take additional courses offered by organizations like the NPTA or those offered by their employers or other educational facilities.
Job Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for pharmacy technicians are expected to increase by 9% between the years 2014 and 2024. This growth is due to an increase in the elderly population who will need prescription drugs to treat a variety of diseases related to their increased lifespans. PayScale.com reported in January 2016 that pharmacy technicians earned median salaries of $31,266.
Pharmacy technicians may be responsible for labeling prescription bottles, processing prescription requests, handling administrative tasks, stocking shelves and preparing intravenous prescription drug solutions. In order to be qualified to prepare intravenous prescriptions, pharmacy technicians must have IV certification.