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Do you like math, anatomy, physiology, and taking care of people? Would you like to find a job that involves all of these things? Then you might be interested in pharmacy technology.
Pharmacy Technician programs can prepare you to work as a pharmacy technician. A pharmacy technician works under the supervision of a pharmacist to help customers and health professionals get the prescription drugs they need. Pharmacy technicians are good with people and have good organizational and people skills. They work in places like pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, drug companies, and more.
This guide tells you everything you need to know about pharmacy technology and how to become a pharmacy technician in California, such as:
In May 2020, the BLS says that California will have the second-most pharmacy technicians working there.
Why do people think there will be more jobs for pharmacy technicians? The BLS says these things:
Most pharmacy technicians work in hospitals and pharmacies. The pharmacy could be in a grocery store, a general store, or a drug store. According to the BLS, the top three places that hire pharmacy technicians are:
A pharmacy technician works with a pharmacist to help patients or other health professionals get the prescription drugs they need. Their jobs include things like measuring medications and putting the stock in the pharmacy in order.
Even though a pharmacy technician’s duties can change depending on where they work (e.g., a retail pharmacy, a hospital, a compounding pharmacy, etc.), these are some of the most common ones:
Pharmacy technicians are vital members of their pharmacy teams wherever they work.
Pharmacy technicians need both technical and soft skills. They can learn technical skills in the classroom and develop soft skills through hands-on training. Most of the technical skills you need to become a pharmacy technician are:
The BLS lists the following as important soft skills or qualities for a pharmacy technician:
In California, you need a license from the California State Board of Pharmacy to work as a pharmacy technician. To get a license, you have to go to school, get training, and fill out a long application.
The education requirements start with a high school diploma or a certificate that shows you have the same level of education as a GED. The California State Board of Pharmacy also requires that you finish pharmacy school and show proof of one of the following:
The California State Board of Pharmacy is where you can apply for a license to work as a pharmacy technician once you have finished the required education. The application needs the following:
The application has been completed: Read the instructions carefully and fill out the application in its entirety.
You don’t need to be certified as a pharmacy technician, but certification can make it easier to find a job. Some employers will even pay for you to become certified. The California State Board of Pharmacy also accepts a PTCB certification as adequate proof of pharmacy education.
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board offers a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential. To earn your PTCB CPhT certification, you must meet a few different requirements—one of which is to complete a PTCB-recognized education/training program or equivalent work experience.
Once you’ve met the requirements, you can take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) to earn your PTCB CPhT certification. Many pharmacy technology programs incorporate material to prepare you for the PTCE.
Taking the ExCPT exam and earning a CPhT certification through the National Healthcareer Association is another path to certification. This is another test that can prove what you’ve learned in a pharmacy technology program.
A licensed pharmacy technician meets requirements set by the state’s pharmacy board, while a certified pharmacy technician meets requirements set by an outside agency and passes an exam. States have varying license and certification requirements. For example, some require licensure and national certification, while others don’t. California pharmacy technicians are required to be licensed but do not need certification.
Choosing the right Pharmacy Technology program for you requires a lot of research. What factors should you consider? We created the below list of factors to help guide your search for Pharmacy Technology programs. Consider that the best programs usually offer a combination of classroom knowledge and hands-on experience.
Pursuing an associate degree or certificate when studying pharmacy technology depends on your career goals. Both can help you become a pharmacy technician, but at different costs and within different timeframes.
Certificate programs tend to be more cost-effective and enable you to become a pharmacy technician sooner, for example. Most associate degree programs take two years to complete, while certificates can usually be earned within a year. However, associate degrees can provide more comprehensive education and higher earning potential, leading to more career opportunities over time. These are some of the factors to weigh as you consider an associate degree or certificate.
Program length varies by school and program of study. It can take anywhere from nine months to two years to complete the training to become a pharmacy technician, depending on your career path. Certificate programs can generally be completed in a year or less, while associate degree programs take closer to two years to complete. Pursuing on-the-job training or internships could also impact the amount of training it takes to become a pharmacy technician.
Pharmacy tech classes equip you with the knowledge necessary to help pharmacists dispense medications and keep pharmacy practices running smoothly. Pharmacy tech classes may cover topics like:
As you complete your pharmacy technology program, you can expect to learn how to:
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