The short answer is no. You do not need an academic degree to be a pharmacy technician, but many states require professional certifications. Keep reading for more information.
Pharmacy technicians fill an essential role in our health care system, performing multiple duties at hospitals, pharmacies, and other facilities. They work to organize, maintain, and supply medicines to patients and caregivers, as well as providing instructions about how to safely use them.
What education is required to be a pharmacy technician? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical pharmacy technician education requirements include a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent. Most states in the U.S. also require certifications for pharmacy technicians, such as those offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or PTCB.
In this article, we explore the topic of pharmacy technician education, including one way to help you get started.
Pharmacy Technician Job Requirements
If you’re pursuing a pharmacy technician position, it’s important to research what is required in your state. For example, the Alabama Board of Pharmacy requires technicians to either complete a board-approved training program or pass a board-approved certification exam like those offered by the PTCB or National Healthcare Association. Additionally, Alabama requires pharmacy technicians to complete six hours of continuing education within each renewal period.
Certification requirements can vary by state. Some common certifications for pharmacy technicians include:
- Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) offered by the PTCB.
- Medical Administrative Assistant Certification (MAAC) offered by the American Medical Certification Association.
- Pharmacy Technician Associate Certification (PTAC) offered by the National Workforce Career Association.
Additionally, on-the-job experience can lead to further education in the field, including PTCB certificates in billing and reimbursement, hazardous drug management, and immunization administration. After completing multiple of these continuing education opportunities, you can also establish yourself as an Advanced Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT-Adv).
Reflect on your career goals when considering different certifications. Are you planning to stay at the technician level, or are you hoping to set yourself up to advance? You may discover your options and compensation are increased after obtaining more certifications and exploring the many careers in health care administration.
Pharmacy Technician Career Outlook
According to data from the BLS, employment of pharmacy technicians reached 459,600 in 2022, and it’s projected to grow 6% from 2022 to 2032. Their median wage across all settings in 2022 was $37,900, and that number grew to $45,300 for technicians working in hospitals. Due to the tight labor market, there have been reports of employers like Walmart increasing wages for pharmacy technicians.
The pharmacy tech certification process can be difficult to fit into a busy schedule, particularly if you already have full-time work, family, dependents, and so on. Online education programs like the ones we offer here at Columbia Southern University combine flexibility with opportunity, allowing you to prepare for certification exams at a pace that works for you.
Among the many continuing education options we offer here at CSU, our six-month Pharmacy Technician and Medical Administrative Assistant Certificate Program with Clinical Externship offers many benefits. Our educators are well-versed in the field and prepare you for the PTCB certification testing processes.
For more information, visit our website.
Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography, and degree field, affect career outcomes. CSU does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, eligibility for a position, or other career growth.