How to Become a Pharmacy Technician

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If you aspire to a career in the healthcare industry, you may be interested in learning how to become a pharmacy technician. Pharmacy technicians – sometimes called pharmacy techs, for short – work under a pharmacist’s guidance and are responsible for accurately filling prescriptions of medications, as well as other duties. The pharmacy tech career path offers many options to qualified workers, in settings ranging from hospitals to retail pharmacies.

As the pharmaceutical industry grows, employment trends suggest that pharmacy technician job openings will continue to increase. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), pharmacy technician employment is projected to rise 31% between 2008 and 2018.* The BLS asserts that pharmacy technicians can expect good job opportunities – particularly if they have experience, formal training and/or certification.

If you are interested in this growing allied health profession, consider pursuing formal education through a diploma or degree program. In as few as 10 months, you can acquire relevant training, prepare to sit for industry certification and develop skills that can help you to qualify for entry-level pharmacy technician jobs.

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Pharmacy Technician Training and Certification

When you’re researching the steps to become a pharmacy technician, one of the first things to consider is pharmacy tech education. Keep in mind that employers often prefer applicants with formal training and certification. During the course of pharmacy technician training, students will review the proper names of drugs and their uses, how to dispense medications, correct dosages and more.

A good training program will also teach important aspects of a pharmacy tech’s daily job duties, such as providing good customer service, maintaining electronic patient records and keeping inventory at proper levels. In addition, students will usually receive instruction in pharmacy terminology, laws and ethics.

Completing a pharmacy technician training program gives you the opportunity to develop the relevant skills employers seek. It can also prepare you for the next step in the pharmacy tech career path: becoming certified by a respected industry organization, such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). Because certification is often required by employers, it may offer job seekers an advantage when competing for entry-level pharmacy technician jobs.

Most graduates of pharmacy technician training programs proceed to sit for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) offered by the PTCB. Those who pass the exam earn the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) designation. Employers may favor candidates with the CPhT credential, as certification demonstrates competency in standard pharmacy technician knowledge and skills.

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UMA Offers Two Options for Pharmacy Technician Training

If you're seeking pharmacy technician training, Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) offers two programs – both of which are designed to prepare students with the relevant skills needed to start out on a pharmacy technician career path.

UMA's Pharmacy Technician diploma program provides students with instruction in theoretical and practical skills required for entry-level positions in retail pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. The required curriculum can be completed in as few as 10 months, and is offered through a convenient online learning platform. If you are seeking pharmacy technician training in Florida, the Pharmacy Technician diploma program is also offered in a traditional classroom setting on UMA’s Tampa campus.

For students who wish to expand their training to include business and communications skills, UMA offers an Associate of Science in Health Sciences with a concentration in Pharmacy Technician. This pharmacy technician degree program can be completed in as few as 15 months. As with the diploma program, students may choose the convenience of online instruction or the face-to-face interaction of traditional classes at UMA’s Tampa campus.

Both of UMA’s Pharmacy Technician programs offer students the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience through an onsite externship or online practicum. In addition, graduates of diploma program and degree program are prepared to sit for the national certification exam given by PTCB.

Become a Pharmacy Technician and Launch Your Healthcare Career

Now that you know how to become a pharmacy technician, you may decide to explore your career options in this field. When you’re ready to take the next step and enroll in a pharmacy technician training program, you can be confident that UMA's Pharmacy Technician degree and Pharmacy Technician diploma programs are designed to set you on the right path. You'll have the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge you need to qualify for entry-level pharmacy technician jobs, and prepare to sit for CPhT certification.

UMA has been training healthcare professionals since 1994, and can help you get started on your pharmacy technician career path. For more information on UMA's Pharmacy Technician degree and diploma programs, contact UMA today.

* U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011 Edition. “Pharmacy Technicians and Aides.” <http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos325.htm#outlook>

For information on student graduation rates, retention and placement rates, and student financial obligations, visit www.ultimatemedical.edu/consumerinfo.

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