What is a pharmacy technician and how do I become one? | Institute of Medical and Business Careers

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What is a pharmacy technician and how do I become one?

Pharmacy technicians play a vital role in a pharmacy by focusing on helping patients with their medication needs and assisting a pharmacist with the operational aspects for a pharmacy. Strong customer service skills are required of pharm techs because you will be interacting with customers, patients, insurance companies and physicians throughout your work day. Pharm techs should be able to work in a fast-paced setting, stand for long periods of time, and have patience for dealing with difficult situations.

Pharm techs also will work with computers to fulfill prescriptions, bill insurance companies, and support the operations of the pharmacy. It’s a job that requires attention to detail and regulations such as properly handling and storing medications.

Pharmacy technicians play a vital role in a pharmacy by focusing on helping patients with their medication needs and assisting a pharmacist with the operational aspects for a pharmacy. Strong customer service skills are required of pharm techs because you will be interacting with customers, patients, insurance companies and physicians throughout your work day.

How to become a pharmacy technician

You can train to become a pharmacy technician by enrolling at a college that offers a diploma or associate degree program. A diploma program is typically faster, taking, on average, about a year to complete.

Your training will include how to enter prescription and patient information into computer systems, how to resolve insurance questions, medication inventory management, and how to keep appropriate documentation of pharmacy records.

Students will also learn clinical duties including: filling prescriptions, preparing intravenous (IV) solutions, preparing unit dose medications, taking a patient’s blood pressure, and assisting the pharmacist with immunizations.

While training to be a pharmacy technician, you will take courses in pharmaceutical terminology, disease processes, pharmaceutical calculations, community pharmacy and institutional pharmacy, as well as receive in-depth, hands-on experience in our fully-equipped school labs.

Most importantly, you’ll want to train at an accredited institution. Accreditation means that the college meets certain academic and student support standards, among other requirements. This usually gives you piece of mind that your training is of a good quality.

Some colleges, such as the Institute for Medical and Business Careers (IMBC), offer internships as part of your formal training program.

You should also find a school for pharmacy technician training that will prepare you for any licensing requirements in your state and one that has a robust career services department. A good career services department can help you find pharmacy technician jobs, prepare for your interview with potential employers and help you transition from your training to a professional environment.

Certifications for pharmacy technicians

After you obtain your pharmacy technician diploma, you should consider obtaining your state certification. This may be required to obtain employment in your state as a pharmacy technician. Additionally, some employers will require you to pass a drug screen and/or background check before gaining employment.

Some schools like IMBC will cover the costs of the professional certification exams.

As you complete your program and certifications for pharm tech, you may want to consider relocating for the right job opportunity. The great news is that according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs is expected to grow 12% by 2026, adding more than 47,000 new pharmacy technician jobs throughout the country. Now might just be the right time to complete your training.