Pharmacy Technician Requirements

Smiling pharmacy tech
As the role and responsibility of pharmacy techs in healthcare increases, pharmacy technician requirements are expected to increase as well.

Though pharmacy techs perform only non-discretionary tasks in the pharmacy, they are hands on in receiving and filling prescriptions, as well as working directly with the client and insurance companies. Ultimately, all of their work is overseen by a licensed pharmacist.

Pharmacy Technician At A Glance

  • 2012 Median Pay*: $29,320
  • Expected job growth: 32% by 2020**
  • Entry-level education: High School diploma or equivalent
  • Top employers: Pharmacies and drug stores

What are the minimum pharmacy technician requirements?

There are currently no nation-wide standards for pharmacy technicians. However, most states, and certainly most employers, require their pharmacy techs to complete an accredited training or education program, as well as obtain licensure or certification.

Background check/drug screening

Due to the sensitive nature of the job and the exposure to controlled pharmaceuticals, employers typically require their pharmacy techs to undergo a background check as well as a drug screening.

Gross misdemeanors or felonies may prohibit a pharmacy tech from obtaining employment, or even from attending a training program. If you have a prior conviction on your record, you may wish to discuss it with a registrar from the school you’re thinking of attending. In some cases, circumstances or the nature of the offense may be taken into account.

There are no legal requirements for a drug screening, but almost all employers, and even internship providers, will require it. Random screenings are also common for existing pharmacy technician employees.

Licensing/Certification requirements

There is currently no consensus amongst states or employers regarding pharmacy technician certification or licensure. However, most do require some sort of formal registration, and a national requirement could soon be required. According to a 2013 survey done by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), “over 80% of jurisdictions license, register, or certify technicians, and at least two states are currently working on legislation for doing so”.  At the very least, obtaining licensure or certification will make a graduate competitive in the job market. The two primary certification agencies are:

*National Healthcare Career Association (NHA)
*Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)

Successful passing of their exam is required to receive their certification. Licensure is typically obtained from the state of residence’s Board of Pharmacy.

Continuing education requirements

Slightly less than half of all states have continuing education requirements in order to maintain their certification or licensure. Continuing ed courses are offered by several different organizations, including the two primary certification companies, the NHA and the PTCB.  Specific requirements in your area can be found on the state’s Board of Pharmacy website.

Basic Pharmacy Tech Qualifications

Pharmacy Tech
Qualifications
  • able to lift 50 pounds and reach overhead
  • able to stand or walk for long periods of time
  • strong math skills
  • strong computer skills
  • excellent communication skills, both oral and written
  • excellent customer service skills
  • Source Data
  • * Salary Data Provided by http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292052.htm
  • ** Job Growth Data Provided by http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm#tab-6