Typically to become a pharmacy technician, you would take an accredited education or training program, become certified or licensed (depending on your state) and start working at a local pharmacy, hospital or another setting requiring your specialized services.
An alternative route is to apply for a Pharmacy Specialist position (MOS 68Q), which is categorized as an “Enlisted Job” with the U.S. Army. To be eligible for an enlisted pharmacy specialist position, you generally need your high school diploma or GED. The U.S. Army website GoArmy.com adds that you must score a minimum of 95 on the Skilled Technical area of the ASVAB (Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery) test.
Pharmacy Specialist Training & Job Description
Once accepted, you would complete 10 weeks of basic combat training and 19 weeks of specialized pharmaceutical training.
The duties of an army pharmacy specialist share many similarities with those of a civilian pharmacy technician. In fact, according to the Army’s COOL (Credentialing Opportunities On-Line) website, the pharmacy specialist credential correlates with the CPhT certification. Once your service in the army is finished, your training and experience as a pharmacy specialist may automatically qualify you to sit for the certified pharmacy technician exam, adds GoArmy.com.
There are many benefits to enlisting in the Army and becoming a pharmacy specialist. Aside from not having to pay for college or university program, you will earn an attractive compensation package which includes benefits, housing and/or food allowance, special pay, etc.
There are also opportunities for independence and advancement. Depending on where you are stationed, you may have more responsibilities than a civilian pharmacy technician.
“A big difference between an Army pharmacy specialist and a civilian pharmacy technician is that the Soldier can work independent of a pharmacist,” reported Jeff Crawley from Fort Sam Houston, Texas for a www.ARMY.MIL article (August 22, 2008). “Soldiers can dispense drugs to active-duty members and counsel them about their prescribed medications.”
According to the “US Military and California Health Personnel: Select Comparisons” report (2008), pharmacy specialists must be supervised by a pharmacist or doctor in clinical settings but, “With time in service and accumulation of promotion points, soldiers with the 68Q MOS can advance in rank and take on formal leadership roles. Pharmacy Specialists of a higher rank supervise and train other lower-ranked pharmacy specialists.”
After the Army
Additionally, during the initial enlistment process, you can enroll in the Army PaYS program which ensures you will have an interview at a military-friendly employer (that offers pharmacy specialist-related employment) once you have honorably concluded your service with the military.
For more information on a Pharmacy Specialist career with the U.S. Army, visit: