Almost everybody ends up at the pharmacy at least a few times a year. Whether it's to pick up your regular prescriptions or some Epsom salts to soak your tired feet, everybody's had experience dealing with pharmacists and pharmacy techs. Pharmacy technicians perform a number of roles in a retail pharmacy, but their primary responsibilities are to assist pharmacists in receiving, stocking and dispensing prescription medications.
Earn your high school diploma. Most pharmacy tech training and certification programs require that you have a high school diploma or a GED to enter the program, and most states require a high school diploma to qualify for a pharmacy tech license.
Enroll in a pharmacy tech training program. Pharmacy tech training programs are offered by most community colleges and vocational schools as well as by a number of online academic institutions. A pharmacy tech program typically lasts six to 12 months. You will take classes including bookkeeping, methods of dispensing medications, pharmacy regulations and good hygiene practices. You will also have to learn the names, doses and effects of a wide range of commonly prescribed medications.
Complete your internship following your pharmacy training as required. Many pharmacy training programs include an internship where you can get practical experience working in a retail pharmacy setting.
Pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or other certification or licensing exam required by your state. In some states, such as California, you must be certified to be registered/licensed to work as a pharmacy tech. In other states, such as Texas, you can work without certification as a pharmacy technician trainee for up to two years.
Clayton Browne has been writing professionally since 1994. He has written and edited everything from science fiction to semiconductor patents to dissertations in linguistics, having worked for Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Steck-Vaughn and The Psychological Corp. Browne has a Master of Science in linguistic anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.