Certified pharmacy technicians work closely with pharmacists and patients, filling prescriptions, stocking shelves, taking inventory, making labels, answering phones and accepting payment. Students in a 1-year pharmacy technician certificate program participate in hands-on learning, such as a simulated pharmacy, where he or she learns to identify medications, as well as count pills and fill prescriptions.
Upon completion of the program, graduates may be eligible to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board's or the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians national certification exams. Certification is required in some states as well as by some employers.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates
Professional pharmacists and pharmacy technicians usually teach this certificate program, which can be helpful in receiving accurate information. Prospective students must hold a high school diploma or equivalent, and it is recommended that he or she have skills in keyboarding, English and computers. Students learn about everything from basic communication and computer skills to the state and federal laws regarding medications and pharmacies. Here are some possible course topics one might encounter through this type of program:
- Pharmaceutical and medical terminology
- Business math
- inventory and medical insurance procedures
- Hospital pharmacy and retail pharmacy
- History of pharmacy
Career Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), 417,780 people were employed as pharmacy technicians nationwide in 2019, a number that is expected to go up 7% between 2018 and 2028. The BLS states that due to an aging population that continues to take more prescription medications, the prospective job availability will remain high. In 2019, pharmacy technicians earned a median annual salary of $33,950, as reported by the BLS.
Pharmacy technician certificate programs include a combination of classroom lectures and hands-on learning experiences to prepare students for careers assisting pharmacists in dispensing prescription. Although not mandatory in all states, certification as a pharmacy technician may make graduates more appealing to potential employers.