Inpatient Pharmacy Technician: Career Info & Education Requirements

Sep 15, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an inpatient pharmacy technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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Inpatient pharmacy technicians work in hospitals and other inpatient facilities assisting pharmacists dispense prescriptions. They typically require only a high school diploma or a GED, but completion of a program is often preferred. Licensing or registration is required in some states and may include passing an exam.

Essential Information

Inpatient pharmacy technicians typically work in hospital pharmacies. They are responsible for assisting pharmacists in the mixing and preparing of medications, as well as helping with administrative tasks. Although each state has its own education requirements for pharmacy technicians, a high school diploma is usually the minimum requirement. Individuals may choose to complete a short-term formal training program, which may include an externship, to increase their job opportunities. State registration or licensure is usually needed, and voluntary pharmacy technician certification is available for those interested.

Required Education High school diploma at minimum; completion of a diploma or certificate program preferred
Other Requirements State licensure and/or registration
Certification Voluntary
Projected Job Growth* 7% for all pharmacy technicians from 2018-2028
Average Salary (2018)* $38,920 annually for pharmacy technicians employed in medical or surgical hospitals

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Inpatient Pharmacy Technician Career Information

Pharmacy technicians generally are responsible for helping licensed pharmacists screen prescriptions for accuracy, dispense and store medications, provide customer service and perform administrative duties, which may include handling and labeling medications, answering telephones and operating cash registers. Inpatient pharmacy technicians may also note prescription information in a patient's file, as well as prepare and deliver sterile solutions to medical staff.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs for pharmacy technicians in general is projected to increase faster than the national average through 2028.

Education Requirements for a Pharmacy Technician

Education requirements for pharmacy technicians in general aren't standardized; however, some states require that pharmacy technicians have a high school diploma. Formal training for pharmacy technicians is also available, often through certificate, diploma or other short-term programs, and many employers prefer that applicants have completed some education in the field, says BLS. Pharmacy technician programs include studies in medical calculations, pharmacology, basic anatomy, medical terminology and keyboarding. They may also include an externship that allows students to work in a pharmacy as part of their education.

Other Requirements

Most states require pharmacy technicians to be licensed or registered with the state pharmacy board. Certification, which involves the successful passing of a field-specific examination, is required by some states, though it's voluntary in most; certification is offered through organizations such as the National Pharmacy Technician Association and Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. Normally, pharmacy technicians must recertify every two years to maintain their certification and complete a minimum number of hours of continuing education in order to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the field.

Pharmacy techs usually are trained through short certificate or diploma programs, although some go to work right out of high school. Certification of inpatient pharmacy technicians is available and is required by some states. The job growth outlook for this profession is about as fast as the job market as a whole.

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