Career as a Pharmacy Technician

Learn about your daily duties and responsibilities as a pharmacy technician.

woman pharmacist with tablet

The Basics

  • What you’ll do: Pharmacy technicians work closely with licensed pharmacists to ensure safe and accurate handling of patient prescriptions. You’ll assist with counting pills, measuring medications, labeling products and verifying prescriptions from doctors. With patients, you’ll accept payments, process and track insurance claims, and maintain patient records.
  • Where you’ll work: Pharmacies, including those in grocery and drug stores; hospitals
  • Degree you’ll need: High school diploma; some states require postsecondary certificates
  • Average annual salary: $35,250*

Job Environment

As a pharmacy technician, you’ll be the liaison between pharmacists and patients. Primarily, you’ll count and measure medications, package them and verify that packages have the correct contents. Your pharmacist must review all prescriptions before they’re dispensed. If a customer has a question about the medication or health matters, you’ll refer them to the pharmacist.

In a hospital environment, you may prepare a greater variety of medications, including intravenous medications. Part of your job may involve making rounds and giving medications to patients at appropriate times.

Career Advancement

Employment prospects for pharmacy technicians are steady through 2029, resting right around the national growth average of 4%, due to advances in pharmaceutical research and to an aging population. Technicians with formal training, who work in hospital settings, may have the best prospects and earn the highest salaries, averaging $40,020 annually, says the BLS. The good news is if you want to specialize, or pursue further education to advance your career, training is available online for both degrees and certifications.

Although certification isn’t required by every state, becoming certified as a pharmacy technician may improve your job options. Many employers will pay for their technicians to take a certification exam. Check with your state’s requirements and the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

If you enjoy working in the pharmacy, you may wish to advance in the medical field by pursuing pharmacist training. Becoming a pharmacist requires earning a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from an accredited school, the passing of exams and licensure.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics; Pharmacy Technicians.

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and other factors. 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.

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