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But Wait…. What Is A Pharmacy Technician?

Everything that you need to know about becoming a pharmacy technician
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What is a Pharmacy Technician?

In short words, a pharmacy technician is the assistant to the pharmacist.

Now, a pharmacy technician is still a healthcare provider. Though a pharmacy technician can have a license, he/she is still required to work under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist.

Technicians use phones, serve customers, count pills, and bring awareness to the pharmacist for patient care.

What are the Pharmacy technician requirements?

HS Diploma or GED

Like most professions, to be a pharmacy technician you at least or a GED.

Education (training program, book, affordable programs, etc.)

So, when you want to go higher in the ranks and make $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 a year education is going to play a huge roll. Why don’t you read further for specific steps to getting the right certifications that will get you paid.

Clean record (No felonies)

We talk all about this here.


Here are some of your options when it comes to certifications as a pharmacy technician:

  • To become a basic entry level pharmacy technician you don’t need a certification (this will get you much lower pay).
  • PTCB Certification (this will get you retail jobs and specialty pharmacy jobs *get on the email list to find out about these*)
  • ExCPT Certification (if your state accepts it; this gets you the same thing as PTCB Certification)
  • Sterile IV Certification (this gets you hospital jobs and beyond! *get on the email list to find out how*)

Is there a test for pharmacy technicians?

There are 2 different exams that can be taken for certifications:

  • PTCB Exam (the most popular nationwide)
    • A 90 question exam
    • Cost $129
    • 2 hours
    • Multiple choice
  • ExCPT (accepted in some states)
    • A 110 question exam
    • Cost $105
    • 2 hours
    • Multiple choice

So, here is how you pick which one you should take.

First of all, choose according to which one is a requirement in your state.

Now, keep in mind the PTCB is the most popular and is highly recognized and endorsed (just a FYI).

The Steps to Become a Pharmacy Technician

  1. Know the right information (requirements, exam you want to take, etc.)
  2. have a exam date (deadline) in mind
  3. Start studying for the exam
  4. Practice a pharmacy technician practice exam as much as you can
  5. Pass the pharmacy technician exam of your choice (i.e. ExCPT or PTCB)
  6. Go put in some applications and get hired

What does a pharmacy technician do?

Generally speaking, technicians supply medications to patients under pharmacist supervision. The technician see’s what needs to be made, puts the medication together according to prescription, and does most of the communication between the pharmacist and the patient.

What are the specific duties of a pharmacy technician?

Here are the basic duties:

  • Customer service skills
  • Detail Oriented
  • Listening skills
  • Math skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Effective communication

Now, of course that is put in very simple terms, but let’s discuss what that includes on a more micro level.

What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do in a Hospital vs in a Retail Pharmacy?

Hospital vs. Retail Pharmacy Pros & Cons

Indeed, this list is going to give you the good the bad and the ugly of what to look out for when working in 2 of the most popular pharmacy technician settings.

Hospital pros:  Set schedule/shifts, more laid back just get your work done for your shift and you’re good, more isolated work to yourself, higher pay, more benefits.

Hospital cons:  Can be hard to get shift changes, less flexible due to hospital demands.

Retail pros:  Very flexible, easy to get a job, customer interaction (if you’re looking for that)

Retail cons:  High stress environment, very time based, very team oriented (one station depends on another), pharmacy technicians get the bulk of the blame for what the doctor or insurance may not do.

What Are The Benefits to Becoming a Pharmacy Technician?

Ordinarily, there are 400,000 jobs available for pharmacy technicians, so you will be sure to get a job.  On top of that, in the next 5 years there is an expected 9% increase of pharmacy technician jobs.  So that’s 36,000 MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOU TO MAKE SOME SERIOUS CASH!

Did You Know? – 2 Facts About Becoming a Pharmacy Technician.

  1. You don’t need a certification to become a pharmacy technician.  However, if you want that  premium pay at a job, then your best bet it to get certified and get a nice paying job.  We teach how to get the high paying jobs step by step to our at PharmacyTechLessons.com.
  2. It’s all in the resume and presentation.  Contrary to popular belief, you getting your next pharmacy technician job is all in your resume and presentation of your skills.  Most employers want to hear about past experiences you have had, what you will do for them, if you are certified, and how you will make their lives easier.
    You can get fully trained on how to get pharmacy jobs offered to you every week when you become a student at PharmacyTechLessons.com.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Certified Pharmacy Technician?

The 2-Year Pathway

Go to a “college” or community college and take a program that is stretched out beyond measure!  Cost = $2000+

The 1-Year Pathway

Get credits from an “accredited” “fast-track” technical college.  Cost = $1400+

The 6-Month Pathway

If you want to learn how to become a pharmacy technician online this is the method.  Take an online pharmacy program and it will usually run you about

The 3-Month Pathway

Take the affordable self paced PTCB program as PharmacyTechLessons.com, get tutoring, and team up with 500 pharmacy technician students all over the nation.  Cost here.

The 2-Month Pathway

Take one of the Courses at PharmacyTechLessons.com and learn how to get pharmacy job offers every week for the highest pay in your state. Cost = here

Pharmacy Technician Pay

What is the average salary of a pharmacy technician?

The average pay of a pharmacy technician is $32,000/year.

Now when you do the math that’s about $15 dollars per hour.

As you might guess, over the course of the last 10 years the salary has increased by $10,000!!!  Even since 2017 the salary is on an upward trend, let’s look at the breakdown of pay.

Pharmacy Technician pay more in detail breakdown:

Average hourly pay = $15.00/hour

Non-Certified technician = $10.50/hour

Certified technician = $15.00/hour

Retail technician = $12.00/hour

Hospital technician = $19.00/hour

So let’s talk about it – where do pharmacy technicians get paid the most?

Retail pharmacy pay break down:

CVS = $12/hour

Working at CVS as a pharmacy technician has its ups and has it’s downs.

Let’s check out  CVS pharmacy employee complaints and even the good things some pharmacy technicians are saying to gauge where the the CVS employee satisfaction is:

Kroger = $12/hour

Now just being honest you may need a better interview to get a job at Kroger pharmacy than you would CVS pharmacy.  Here’s what employee’s at Kroger had to say.

Walgreens = $13/hour

Walgreens it looking to pay you a bigger buck as a pharmacy technician, and either way it goes you get the experience to advance higher, but I wouldn’t focus to much on advancing within the company.

HEB = $15/hour

Now while HEB isn’t the most universal store, especially compare to CVS, it does offer great job opportunities, and obviously it pays much more than the average retailer.

Pharmacy Technician Salary

So in case you don’t want to look at it from hour to hour lets get a year to year look at how pharmacy technicians perform as far as salary:

The salary ranges realistically from $22,000-$55,000/year.

The highest paying states are Alaska, Washington, California, and District of Columbia.

Pharmacy Technician Salary State-by-State (2017-2018)

Check for your state below to see the average annual pay.

What Are Similar Professions to a Pharmacy Technician?

Similar Healthcare Professions to Also Think About: 

There are many other professions that are similar to being a pharmacy technician, like:

  • Dental assistants
  • Medical assistants
  • Med records and health information technicians
  • Medical transcriptionist

They are all similar because they do not require “college degree” but they can however be attained through certification.

What is your #1 goal right now? 

If you’re looking to pass the PTCB & ExCPT exam, I have a free class that reveals The EXACT Process Students Use To Pass the PTCB Exam in 3 Months or Less Without Failing. Click here to check it out.

If you’re ready to work with me so I can help you pass the exam, go here.

Thanks for listening to The #AskPTLShow. I love to hear from our listeners! If you have questions you’d like me to answer on the show or topics you’d like me to cover, contact me at pharmacytechlessons@gmail.com.

Be sure to check out other episodes, get more free content and learn more about me at  http://pharmacytechlessons.com

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-O’neisha Biggs

Free Masterclass Reveals: How to Pass the PTCB Exam in 3 Months or Less Without Failing Your First Attempt.

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