How Old Do You Need to Be?
Each state has its own age requirements for pharmacy techs. You might be able to get a pharmacy tech job at the age of 15 or 16, depending on where you live. However, some employers prefer to hire pharmacy techs who are at least 17 or 18.
What Qualifications Do You Need?
While inexperienced hopefuls can receive on-the-job training to become pharmacy techs, some employers might require applicants to have previous customer service experience. You might also need a certificate or diploma from an accredited trade school program to qualify for a pharmacy tech job.
Pharmacy Tech Training
Training programs for pharmacy techs offer traditional classroom instruction and hands-on training through externships at local drugstores. You’ll learn fundamental pharmacology principles, including:
- Pharmacy Law
- Community and Institutional Pharmacy Practice
- Pharmaceutical Math
- Drug Classifications
During the externship portion of your training, you can work a paid job in a real pharmacy and develop the customer service skills you need to thrive in this profession.
Earning a pharmacy technician certification from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) can make it easier to get a pharmacy tech job in your area.
You’re likely to need an official credential if you want to work in a hospital or urgent care center pharmacy.
Since pharmacy tech jobs involve working with various medications, employers typically require candidates to pass a criminal background check and drug screening before hiring.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Pharmacy Tech?
Depending on where you enroll, you might finish your pharmacy tech certificate program in four to six months. However, many students complete their courses in about a year.
Applying for Pharmacy Tech Jobs
If you’re under the age of 18, check the age requirements at your local pharmacy to see if you qualify for a pharmacy tech job. Also, ask about employee benefits like tuition assistance, which can help cover the cost of a pharmacy tech trade school program.
What Do Pharmacy Techs Do?
Whether they work for a local drugstore or a larger pharmacy chain like Walmart, Publix, Amazon, or Walgreens, pharmacy techs work under a licensed pharmacist’s supervision, performing the following duties:
- Receiving written and digital prescription requests
- Counting, weighing, pouring, or measuring required medications to fill prescriptions
- Packaging and labeling medications in required containers
- Allowing pharmacists to check filled prescriptions for accuracy
- Inputting insurance and payment information when ringing up customers
Techs also stock shelves, set up displays, help customers on the sales floor, and take inventory of all the medicines and products in the pharmacy.