Pharmacy technicians are responsible for handling all aspects of the prescription fulfillment process and assisting the pharmacist with day-to-day operations. Aspiring pharmacy techs can complete a one-year diploma or certification program at a pharmacy technician school or a two-year associate degree program. This career guide provides in-depth information about pharmacy technician training, careers and job opportunities in this fast-growing field.
She has trained, coached, instructed and mentored many on a wide variety of subjects. She has also coached many Pre-Pharmacy students in preparation for their Pharmacy School interviews and assisted both Technicians and Pharmacists in their written language and professional interactions. She has a talent for working with those for whom English is not a first language. She enjoys working with students of all ages, and understands the many demands of adult students trying to balance education with their personal responsibilities.
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) is the accrediting body for pharmacy technician programs. ASHP-certified programs are available at many community colleges and vocational schools. Most certificate programs can be completed within a year or less, while associate degree programs typically take two years to complete. Coursework covers technical and practical training in the following areas:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for pharmacy technicians in 2016 was $30,920, which is $14.86 per hour. Salaries can range depending on where you work. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,370. The highest 10 percent, more than $45,710, with the highest earners typically working in general medical center and surgical hospitals.
There are many scopes of the workplace for the Certified Pharmacy Technician. In a retail setting, a CPhT works under the direct supervision of a pharmacist who dispenses prescription medication (tablets, capsules, gels, ointment, creams, suspensions, injections, and inhalation medications), and must be familiar with over-the-counter areas as well as third party insurance billing processes. In an inpatient setting, the CPhT works throughout the hospital, packing and dispensing medications in satellite pharmacies and to the various nursing units; compounding intravenous medication while using aseptic technique; narcotic medication dispensing and inventorial procedures; as well as documenting patients' weight, height, drug allergies and other needed information in medication records.

Specialized pharmacy technician roles offer an exciting career opportunity. Instead of working in a medical facility or drugstore, some pharmacy techs assist with infusion services in homes or nursing facilities. Prefer to work in a variety of settings? Travel pharmacy technicians take on short-term assignments in various parts of the country. If this sounds interesting, contact a health care agency who specializes in placing pharmacy technicians.
Veterinary technicians usually have a 2-year associate’s degree in a veterinary technology program. They generally work in private clinical practices under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian. Technicians may perform laboratory tests, such as a urinalysis, and help veterinarians conduct a variety of other diagnostic tests. Although some of their work is done in a laboratory setting, many technicians also talk with animal owners. For example, they explain a pet’s condition or how to administer medication prescribed by a veterinarian.
If you choose to become a vet tech, the kinds of duties you perform on a daily basis will depend on the type of facility you work in, but you’ll always be assisting vets in caring for animal patients. Your duties will likely encompass a wide array of tasks, from keeping medical records to administering shots and medication. General tasks could include:
The Associate’s program at Navarro College is based at their campus in the town of Corsicana. This public college has in the order of 9,999 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees for in-district students are generally around $2,218 and are $3,568 and $5,068 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost around $1,581, depending on the program chosen.
Agricultural science technicians will be needed to assist agricultural and food scientists in investigating and improving the diets, living conditions, and even genetic makeup of livestock. Food science technicians will assist scientists to improve food-processing techniques, ensuring that products are safe, waste is limited, and food is shipped efficiently. Technicians will also continue to assist in studies that analyze soil composition and soil improvement techniques, find uses for agricultural byproducts, and selectively breed crops to resist pests and disease, or improve taste.

Getting a credential, such as the Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT), or the Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT)—which are commonly bundled under the umbrella term credentialed veterinary technician by the administering National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America—can enhance your career and provide more opportunity for advancement.
As the job description expands, career opportunities increase, and the outlook for employment as a pharmacy technician is very strong. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ current Occupational Outlook Handbook, with a large percentage of the population aging the field is expected to increase by 12 percent through 2026, which is faster than average. This means that now is an excellent time to become a pharmacy technician. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
Around nine percent of the country’s 334,400 pharmacy technicians reside in California and the state is home to the top ten highest paying metropolitan areas for technicians.[33] Employment growth is up across the U.S. overall, with California holding the number one spot for employment growth. Salary growth is notable as well, placing California at number three on the list of states with the highest salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technician salaries and employment figures for California (and the nation) are as follows:[34]

A pharmacy technician diploma or certificate program can be completed in one year or less and provides the basic education and training needed to sit for the Certified Pharmacy Technician exam. These programs introduce students to basic concepts in pharmaceutical technology, record keeping, pharmacy law and ethics, and pharmacology. They typically include a combination of classroom learning and lab training so that students learn how to dispense medication, prepare sterile products, and manage prescription orders.


The structure of online pharmacy technician courses usually follows a “module” setup, where each section is its own module, most likely followed by an exam that you must pass to be sent the next module. Another program structure is called “distance learning.” If your program is labeled as such, you will have correspondence with your school via mail, email or online. There may be instances where your program requires that you attend certain classes on campus or at another convenient campus location.

If your pet is to have lab tests run, such as a check for heartworm, a Complete Blood Count (CBC), or a check for parasites, it will be the veterinary technician who takes the appropriate samples and using high tech instruments will document the results for the veterinarian's interpretation. When further testing is required, such as X-rays, the veterinary technician will take the X-rays and deliver them to the veterinarian.
In recent times, pharmacy technicians also speak directly with the patients on the phone to aid in the awareness of taking medications on time.[1][2][3][4] In many countries, both developed and developing, the relative importance of pharmacy technicians within the pharmacy workforce has been amplified in recent years, largely as a reaction to pharmacist shortages, resulting in an increase in their numbers and responsibilities;[5] alternative medicine, pharmacotherapeutics, customer care, retail and hospital software systems, inventory management, and infection control.[4][6]

To accommodate work and family obligations, distance learning is an option for many students wishing to earn a degree in veterinary technology from home. The AVMA accredits several distance-learning courses that meet the same standards of accreditation as traditional programs and include a clinical component. Students fulfill the clinical training through sponsorship by a licensed veterinarian.
Certification. Even if you don’t wish to sit for the PTCB examination (learn more below), research how well alumni of the program fare on that test. You will want to have the same level of knowledge to best serve your patients and pharmacists. The PTCB awards successful takers a national certification that can give your resume a special distinction.

Our AVMA-CVTEA fully accredited Veterinary Technician training program can help you gain the skills to take the first steps towards an exciting new career in the booming field of veterinary technology. In our online veterinary technician school, you'll study a wide range of topics and gain real-world vet technician experience during the clinical externship portions of the program. Plus, our online courses allow you to earn your associate degree and prepare for the VTNE exam at home or on the go, and study on your schedule.
Two organizations offer certification. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) certification requires a high school diploma and the passing of an exam. Applicants for the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) certification must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma, and have completed a training program or have 1 year of work experience. Technicians must recertify every 2 years by completing 20 hours of continuing education courses.
Getting a credential, such as the Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT), or the Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT)—which are commonly bundled under the umbrella term credentialed veterinary technician by the administering National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America—can enhance your career and provide more opportunity for advancement.
Palo Alto College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and two Certificate programs. All programs are based at their campus in the city of San Antonio. The college has about 8,376 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Fees for tuition for in-district students are roughly about $2,088 and are $5,550 and $10,740 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost roughly $2,074, although this will depend on the program.
CPhT is the abbreviation for Certified Pharmacy Technician. The CPhT works directly under a pharmacist, R.Ph or a PharmD. (An R.Ph is a Registered Pharmacist, who is a licensed pharmacist in that state and may have either a bachelor's degree in pharmacy or a Pharm.D.) The profession has different educational and certification requirements in different locales, set by each state's Board of Pharmacy. For example, in order to remain licensed, all Illinois pharmacy technicians hired on Jan 1, 2008 (and after) will need to be certified within 2 years of registration with the Division of Professional Regulation.[26]
Two organizations offer certification. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) certification requires a high school diploma and the passing of an exam. Applicants for the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) certification must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma, and have completed a training program or have 1 year of work experience. Technicians must recertify every 2 years by completing 20 hours of continuing education courses.
Average Americans work well into their 60s, so workers might as well have a job that’s enjoyable and a career that's fulfilling. A job with a low stress level, good work-life balance and solid prospects to improve, get promoted and earn a higher salary would make many employees happy. Here's how Pharmacy Techs job satisfaction is rated in terms of upward mobility, stress level and flexibility.
Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of pharmacists, who must review prescriptions before they are given to patients. In most states, technicians can compound or mix some medications and call physicians for prescription refill authorizations. Technicians also may need to operate automated dispensing equipment when filling prescription orders.
As you come into the hospital, it may be the veterinary technician who greets you and your pet and escorts you to the exam room. There the technician may listen and make notes while you describe the reason for your pet's visit. S/he may give your pet a physical exam -- look at the pet's  eyes and ears, listen to the heart, and take the temperature. All of this information will be passed along to the veterinarian for their evaluation.

Formal pharmacy-technician education programs require classroom and laboratory work in a variety of areas, including medical and pharmaceutical terminology, pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacy recordkeeping, pharmaceutical techniques, and pharmacy law and ethics. Technicians also are required to learn medication names, actions, uses, and doses. Many training programs include internships, in which students gain hands-on experience in actual pharmacies. Students receive a diploma, certificate, or an associate degree, depending on the program.
Revised ASHP/ACPE accreditation standards for pharmacy technician education and training program (revised): frequently asked questions. ASHP website. ashp.org/-/media/assets/professional-development/technician-program-accreditation/docs/ashp-acpe-revised-pharmacy-technician-program-accreditation-standards-faq.ashx?la=en&hash=20A4F63D3DBD66AFA487CEC39978674392F343B9. Published July 2018. Accessed July 31, 2018.

Since most certification and degree programs for pharmacy technicians require hands-on training through an externship or similar training, it’s important to determine what types of partnerships the school has secured for externships. Some schools offer externship placement as a courtesy to students, while others require students to seek out and apply for training on their own. In either situation, students are typically responsible for organizing their own transportation to the pharmacy, lab or other approved facility to complete this component of the program.


Veterinary technologists and technicians must complete a postsecondary program in veterinary technology. In 2016, there were 221 veterinary technology programs accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Most of these programs offer a 2-year associate’s degree for veterinary technicians. Twenty-one colleges offer a 4-year bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology.
In Canada, according to a 2007 profile of the pharmacy technician workforce, 43% of technicians work in hospitals and other related facilities, 37% in chain or franchise community pharmacies, and 16% in independent community pharmacies.[12] Most (62%) obtained pharmacy technician training from a career college or community college, some (16%) had only a high school education and no formal pharmacy training, while about 20% had some university education. A very small proportion (2%) had trained and worked abroad as either pharmacists or pharmacy technicians. The wide range of technical training and educational attainment likely reflects in part the variety of training programs for pharmacy technicians currently available in the different provinces and territories of the country.[12] Accredited Pharmacy Technician diploma, certificate and college programs are offered in the Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.[13] 908
5. Teach at a local community college. This is not always the easiest path to take, but it's worthwhile if you enjoy teaching others. Not all states have programs, and those that do tend to hang onto their teachers. So it may be a long process to find a program that's the right fit. Volunteer at local colleges to try to get your foot in the door, or apply with online programs. The more teaching experience you have to go alongside your veterinary technician licensure, the better your chances of obtaining a position. Some programs may also require higher education—some may accept an associate’s degree, while others may require a bachelor’s.
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