How to Become a Certified Pharmacy Technician: a Complete Guide

The balance between accuracy and care is crucial, so get ready to navigate through a maze of pharmaceutical practices. Grab your pharmaceutical knowledge and sharpen your skills because it’s time to uncover the secrets of “How to Succeed as a Certified Pharmacy Technician”: the expert edition! ?

Step into the dynamic and ever-changing world of pharmacy, aspiring certified pharmacy technicians! Hold on to your medication labels and prepare for a rewarding journey if you’ve ever dreamed of making a difference in healthcare or excelling in managing medication with your precision and expertise. ?

The average salary for a Certified Pharmacy Technician in the United States was hovering at $38,400 as of June 26, 2023. The actual pay, however, may vary based on a variety of factors, including your level of education, further certifications, acquired skills, and job experience.?

Who is a certified pharmacy technician?

Obtaining certification as a pharmacy technician is an important accomplishment in the industry. It necessitates completing non-regulatory certification tests that gauge a person’s expertise in pharmacy practices.

Candidates must complete all non-regulatory agency requirements prior to taking the exam, ensuring they are well-prepared for the test.? 

This accreditation provides the technician with a recognized degree of skill by validating their competency in pharmacy procedures. With this accomplishment, certified pharmacy technicians may confidently advance their careers in the pharmacy business and receive respect in their field by helping to provide patients with safe and effective healthcare services.?

How much can a certified pharmacy technician earn?

As of June 26, 2023, the average wage for a Certified Pharmacy Technician in the United States was hovering at $38,400. The real salary, however, might differ depending on a number of variables, including your degree of education, further certifications, gained abilities, and work experience. ?

The usual income range is $34,600 to $42,800, offering room for development as you develop your skills and add to your number of years of experience in the field. 

How to Become a certified pharmacy technician(Tips)

Step into the dynamic world of a certified pharmacy technician, where precision and compassion meet. Aspiring pharmacy professionals prepare to embark on a rewarding journey filled with medication expertise, patient care, and healthcare support. Master the art of pharmacy procedures, expand your knowledge, and become an essential pillar in the medical field. 

Join me as we explore the realm of pharmaceuticals, guiding you toward a fulfilling career as a certified pharmacy technician. Let’s dive in and unlock the mysteries of this vital profession! ⤵️

Enroll in a certified training program

To become a pharmacy technician, acquiring essential technical knowledge and skills is crucial. Employers seek certification from accredited institutions to validate your capabilities. Typically, aspiring pharmacy technicians start their journey by pursuing an associate degree at a recognized college or university.?

This comprehensive two-year program covers both general electives and specialized courses directly related to pharmacy technician work. The advantage of earning an associate degree is that you can later apply your credits and training toward pursuing a bachelor’s degree or further education if desired.

For a more expedited path, consider enrolling in a one-year certificate program. These focused courses allow quicker completion and meet the requirements to advance your career as a pharmacy technician.

Gain practical experience

Many positions in the field demand practical experience as a pharmacy technician. Often, training programs include opportunities for work experience, such as internships or assistant positions in pharmacies.?

Online certification courses may offer externship programs, giving you practical exposure in real pharmacy settings. Universities often have established connections with organizations to facilitate finding placements for gaining valuable practical experience.

Obtain Certification

Apart from formal education, obtaining certification is often a requirement in most pharmacies to demonstrate your competency and technical expertise as a pharmacy technician.? The leading certifying bodies for pharmacy technician credentials are:

Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)

The PTCB offers the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPHT) credential to pharmacy technicians. To qualify for the certifying exam, candidates must complete a recognized training program or accumulate a minimum of 500 hours of experience as a pharmacy technician.

The exam consists of 90 questions, with ten unscored items, and lasts for one hour and 50 minutes. An unofficial score is provided immediately after the exam, while the formal passing decision typically takes two to three weeks.

National Healthcareer Association (NHA)

The NHA provides an alternative route to earning the CPHT certification. Both organizations are highly regarded and can enhance your resume. The NHA exam includes 100 questions to be completed within two hours and 10 minutes. Like the PTCB certification, candidates must complete an accredited training program or accumulate equivalent experience (1200 hours for NHA) to be eligible for the exam.

Consider Specialization

Distinguishing yourself from other pharmacy technician candidates can be achieved by pursuing specialization through specialized training programs or focused on-the-job experience. ?

Specializing in a particular area of pharmacy that interests you allows you to refine your skills and makes you a more attractive candidate for specific positions by showcasing your advanced expertise. Some common specialization options include:

  • Central pharmacy operations technician
  • Community pharmacy technician
  • General pharmacy technician
  • Laboratory pharmacy technician

Craft Your Resume

Once you have acquired the necessary prerequisites, you can start your search for pharmacy technician positions. Crafting a polished and professional resume is essential in leaving a positive first impression and increasing your chances of landing your desired role.

When applying for entry-level positions, aim to keep your resume concise, limiting it to one page. Include your work history and a skills section that highlights relevant professional and interpersonal competencies.?

As an entry-level candidate, a functional resume format might be beneficial. This format emphasizes skills over experience, allowing you to showcase key abilities and elaborate on how you acquired and applied them in previous jobs, educational pursuits, and other organizational involvements.

Tailor Your Applications

To set yourself apart from other candidates, it’s crucial to customize your resume to match the specific job you’re applying for. Save your base resume as a new file, so you can easily make targeted changes without losing your original version.

Carefully review the job posting, paying attention to specific work responsibilities and required skills, and ensure that you incorporate these relevant details into your resume.

Responsibilities of a certified pharmacy technician

Certified pharmacy technicians play a pivotal role in the healthcare industry. Beyond dispensing medications, they contribute to patient care, manage inventory, and ensure accurate prescription processing. 

These versatile professionals collaborate with pharmacists, educate patients, and maintain pharmacy operations. Explore the diverse responsibilities of a certified pharmacy technician and the vital impact they make on people’s well-being.⤵️

Compounding Patient Prescriptions

One of the primary responsibilities of pharmacy technicians involves compounding prescriptions for patients. This task includes carefully selecting the appropriate medication, brand, form, strength, and quantity as prescribed by the healthcare provider.?

Pharmacy technicians meticulously count the pills, capsules, or tablets and then package the required amount in suitable containers. They affix labels with usage instructions and expiry dates on the medication containers to ensure safe administration.

In some cases, pharmacy technicians may also prepare medications by reconstituting them in a different form or compounding them from raw ingredients. This can involve the preparation of creams and ointments tailored to meet individual patient needs.✅

Managing Prescription Requests

Another crucial duty of most pharmacy technicians is handling prescription and refill requests, often originating from doctors’ offices and specific to particular patients. Upon receiving these requests, technicians verify the accuracy and completeness of the electronic or written prescriptions and enter the relevant details into the pharmacy database.?

This verification process includes checking the prescription date, prescriber information, such as the healthcare provider’s name, license number, signature, and other pertinent details. They also ensure that patient information, such as name, age, known allergies, medical conditions, and more, is correctly recorded.

Prescription Pricing

Pharmacy technicians may also have the responsibility of determining the pricing for prescriptions. This involves conducting research to ascertain the cost of specific prescription medications. 

Additionally, they may process the prescription through the patient’s insurance to identify any applicable adjustments or discounts and facilitate the necessary billing procedures.?

Identifying Potential Drug Interactions

An essential aspect of a pharmacy technician’s role involves evaluating and understanding potential drug interactions. When a patient is on multiple medications, the likelihood of drug interactions increases. Some interactions can have serious or even life-threatening consequences. 

To ensure patient safety, pharmacy technicians meticulously maintain accurate medication records and carefully check for drug interactions and contraindications before dispensing medications.?

This thorough assessment helps determine the appropriateness of a prescription for the patient. By verifying the safety and suitability of the prescribed dosage based on factors such as the patient’s age, weight, allergies, existing medications, and underlying medical conditions, pharmacy technicians play a crucial role in informing and safeguarding patients.

Handling pharmacy inventory

Effectively managing pharmacy inventory is a crucial duty of pharmacy technicians. They are responsible for monitoring medication availability by visually inspecting and utilizing electronic inventory records. When supplies are running low, they place orders for restocking and ensure timely procurement of specialty medications required for patients’ specific needs.?‍?

Engaging with patients

Pharmacy technicians frequently interact with patients throughout their workday.?‍⚕️ Common ways in which they interact with patients include:

  • Addressing inquiries related to prescriptions
  • Providing guidance to patients and caregivers on proper medication usage, including dosage and administration
  • Assisting patients in purchasing their medications
  • Handling incoming pharmacy calls
  • Aiding patients in finding over-the-counter medications
  • Directing patients to the pharmacist for more detailed medical queries concerning prescriptions

As they have a client-facing position, pharmacy technicians usually demonstrate exceptional customer service skills. They are patient, friendly, helpful, and communicate effectively when engaging with patients.

Tips to improve your pharmacy technician career

Becoming a certified pharmacy technician offers a fulfilling and ever-evolving career path. With dedication and continuous learning, you can make a positive impact on patient’s lives and contribute to healthcare excellence. Take the leap into this exciting journey of growth, where you’ll refine your skills, thrive in a dynamic environment, and find fulfillment in serving others. Let’s begin this rewarding expedition together! ⤵️

Stress Management

While some pharmacy technicians work part-time, many hold full-time positions, often requiring them to work more than 40 hours per week to meet employer demands and serve customers’ needs. Standing and walking for extended periods within a confined space is common during their shifts.?

They must efficiently handle numerous medication orders with high precision, occasionally dealing with impatient customers. Despite a heavy workload, pharmacy technicians are expected to remain composed and interact pleasantly with everyone they encounter.

Equipment Maintenance and Technical Proficiency

Modern pharmacies utilize equipment to assist pharmacy technicians and pharmacists in dispensing medications. In case of equipment malfunctions, basic technical competence allows pharmacy technicians to perform minor repairs promptly instead of awaiting technician assistance.?‍?

Pharmacy technicians are also well-versed in the software employed for record storage and data retrieval, including patient medication details and contact information. In the event of software issues, their ability to address such problems proves invaluable, ensuring seamless pharmacy operations.

Inventory Management

Working closely with the pharmacist, a pharmacy technician ensures precise tracking of all incoming medications to the facility. Their adept inventory management skills enable them to dispense only the required medications to patients, complying with legal standards and ensuring patients receive the necessary treatment for their health conditions.✅

Being aware of the quantity of each medication in stock, they can effectively place orders to replenish supplies. By monitoring patterns and trends, they anticipate demand, preventing unnecessary medication purchases that may later expire. Upon receiving new medications, they meticulously store and label them for accurate future dispensing processes.


Throughout the workday, a pharmacy technician collaborates with various colleagues. They follow directions from supervisors and delegate tasks among team members to maintain efficiency. Conflict resolution skills and transparent communication contribute to a more productive workplace.?


Pharmacy technicians exhibit a high level of dependability. They accept assignments from supervisors and communicate when their workload becomes overwhelming. Providing clear pickup times to customers ensures smooth medication collection. Additionally, they maintain regular communication with insurance companies to ensure timely payment for customers’ medications.?

Top pharmacy technician courses in the United States

For aspiring certified pharmacy technicians, there are excellent educational paths to enhance skills and thrive in a rewarding career. Explore top pharmacy technician programs offered by reputable institutions worldwide. 

These esteemed courses provide comprehensive education, expert guidance, and valuable opportunities to refine your pharmaceutical expertise and excel in the healthcare industry. Let’s unlock the door to success in pharmacy together! ⤵️

Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences

The Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences focuses on both fundamental and practical research in drug delivery and targeting. The program integrates various disciplines such as medicinal chemistry, computational chemistry, pharmaceutics, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, immunology, and molecular and cell biology.

Master of Science in Pharmacogenomics

Pharmacogenomics, a blend of pharmacology and genomics, delves into how an individual’s genes influence their response to medications. Its objective is to aid doctors in selecting the most suitable drugs and doses tailored to each person’s distinct requirements. 

This field intertwines with precision medicine, aiming to provide personalized treatment for each patient. Pharmacogenomics has diverse applications, ranging from drug development and cancer therapy to food digestion, significantly impacting various aspects of healthcare involving human life.

Master of Science in Pharmacology and Toxicology

The Master of Science program in Pharmacology and Toxicology equips students with the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in competitive technical roles related to pharmacological research and testing. Graduates are well-prepared to engage in clinical trials and conduct toxicological reviews and assessments within the pharmaceutical and related industries.

Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Engineering

The MSc Pharmaceutical Science program is a comprehensive two-year pharmacy degree designed to train students for diverse career opportunities, such as drug development and medicinal chemistry. Through rigorous theoretical knowledge and extensive laboratory training, students gain the expertise required to excel in these fields.

Top pharmacy technician Schools in the World

Embarking on a career as a certified pharmacy technician might be your calling if you have a passion for healthcare, attention to detail, and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment. However, becoming a skilled pharmacy technician requires dedication, continuous learning, and honing your pharmaceutical expertise. 

To start your journey, here’s a compilation of the top pharmacy technician schools worldwide, where you can begin your studies and refine your skills in this ever-evolving field. Let’s dive into the world of pharmaceuticals together! ⤵️

Miami Dade College in Miami, FL

The MDC School of Health Sciences, situated on a specialized medical campus, provides a pharmacy technician certificate program. The program can be completed in 2-3 semesters and incorporates off-campus clinical education. To be eligible for the Pharmacy Technician Program, students need to fulfill the Test of Adult Basic Education, although successful completion does not guarantee admission to the program.

Madonna University in Livonia, MI

Madonna University, a private 4-year institution, was ranked #86 by U.S. News & World Report among regional universities in the Midwest for 2017. The university provides pre-professional programs aimed at preparing students for careers in the health sector, including a pre-professional pharmacy program.

Atlanta Technical College in Atlanta, GA

Atlanta Technical College provides students with the opportunity to pursue an associate degree in pharmacy technology. Alternatively, they can opt for a diploma in pharmacy technology, which involves fewer humanities courses and can be completed in approximately five academic quarters. Additionally, the college offers a pharmacist’s assistant certificate program for those interested in this field.

Central Arizona College in Coolidge, AZ

Central Arizona College provides a comprehensive pharmacy technician training program that leads to a certificate. This program aims to prepare students for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam, administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. 

Students acquire knowledge of medical and pharmaceutical terminology and techniques, as well as develop essential record-keeping abilities. Additionally, they study pertinent legal and ethical subjects related to pharmacy practice.

Where to find pharmacy technician opportunities online?

Are you a certified pharmacy technician looking for exciting career opportunities? Look no further! In the digital age, the internet offers a wealth of resources for pharmacy professionals to explore diverse job prospects and connect with experts worldwide. 

This guide will help you navigate the online landscape, identifying ideal pharmaceutical roles that align with your aspirations and career goals, whether you’re starting your journey or seeking to elevate your professional profile. Let’s unlock the endless possibilities in the world of pharmacy together! ⤵️


For those looking for work as a pharmacy technician, Indeed is a top job search engine with several chances. Various firms in the healthcare sector have a variety of job openings for pharmacy technicians that are open to prospective employees. 

Candidates may filter and search for employment using Indeed’s user-friendly interface according to geography, experience level, and other pertinent factors.

A well-known employment search engine,, serves the requirements of pharmacy technicians looking for rewarding career prospects. provides prospective individuals with a complete platform to research and apply for pharmacy technician employment thanks to its huge database of job postings from respected businesses in the healthcare industry.

Key takeaways

Starting a career as a certified pharmacy technician might seem challenging, but with determination and persistence, the possibilities are boundless. 

Put forth your best efforts, work diligently, and seize every chance for interviews and growth opportunities to pave your way to success in the pharmaceutical realm. Who knows, you may become a shining star in the world of pharmacy! ??

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