How to become a pharmacy technician

Pharmacy technician is not a job for everyone. Contrary to the general believes, it is very challenging as it requires calculation skills, attention to details, focus, and ability to interact or communication effectively. Most jobs are very fast pace position, pharmacy tech most be able to grasp and understand information quickly. Also the job involves long hours of standing and occasional walking. Below are the skills and abilities expected for a pharmacy technician position applicant by one of the leading hospitals in Colorado:

    1. Able to apply necessary advanced mathematical concepts including fractions, percentages, and proportions
    2. Able to work quickly under pressure while remaining attentive to detail
    3. Possess reasonable keyboarding skills
    4. Able to follow precise instructions with attention to detail
    5. Flexibility to adjust to changing conditions or details of the job and different shifts or positions as required.
    6. Maintains a familiarity with established policies, procedures, and practice regulations, JCAHO and other regulatory agencies.
    7. Completes all required department competencies annually.
    8. Able to work independently, completing required processes thoroughly, accurately, and in a timely manner

Most Pharmacy technician position requires at least a high school diploma and national pharmacy technician certification. Below is a sample qualification required as advertised in a job posting in the state of Maryland:

Qualifications: High School diploma or equivalent required. Must be currently certified by a national pharmacy tech certification program. Must have successfully passed an examination approved by the Board and complete a pharmacy tech training program approved by the Board that includes 160 hours of work experience and is no longer than 6 months in duration or has worked in the pharmacy area of a pharmacy since January 1, 2006. Complies with the Maryland Board of Pharmacy Regulations for Pharmacy Technician Registration. Registration requirement does not apply to a pharmacy tech trainee performing delegated pharmacy acts for less than 6 months at the trainee level or to a pharmacy student performing delegated pharmacy acts under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist and in accordance with the Board regulations. All applicants must submit to a state criminal history records check.

 

Training and Qualification

Qualification requirement may vary from state to states and even among cities. It is not uncommon for some hospitals to require applicant to take special courses to qualify to a job offer. Most pharmacy tech will go through on the job training for between 3-12 months.
Pharmacy technician training programs are offered by the military, some hospitals, proprietary schools, vocational or technical colleges, and community colleges. Pharmacy technicians must be registered with the State board of pharmacy. Eligibility requirements vary, but in some States applicants must possess a high school diploma or its equivalent and pay an application fee.
Most states do not require technicians to be certified, but voluntary certification is available through several private organizations. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT) administer national certification examinations. Certification through such programs may enhance an applicant’s prospects for employment and is required by some States and employers. To be eligible for either exam, candidates must have a high school diploma or its equivalent and no felony convictions of any kind. In addition, applicants for the PTCB exam must not have had any drug-related or pharmacy-related convictions, including misdemeanors.

Under these programs, technicians must be recertified every 2 years.Recertification requires 20 hours of continuing education within the 2-year certification period. Continuing education hours can be earned from several different sources, including colleges, pharmacy associations, and pharmacy technician training programs. Up to 10 hours of continuing education also can be earned on the job under the direct supervision and instruction of a pharmacist.

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