Many pharmacy technicians are trained on the job, however, most employers prefer to hire pharmacy technicians that have had formal training or previous work experience. Pharmacy technician requirements include attention to detail, no prior history of drug related offenses, strong math and reading skills, no felony convictions within the past 5 years, and a high school diploma or GED.
Pharmacy technician training programs are accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). You can find a program directory of all of the accredited programs on their website. There are certified programs in 37 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
These training programs are located mainly in technical colleges, community colleges, and vocational schools, though there are also a few located in universities and other locations. The programs teach all of the required skills for pharmacy technician, such as the names and dosages of different medications, pharmaceutical calculations, pharmaceutical law and ethics, pharmaceutical techniques, pharmaceutical terminology, and pharmacy record keeping. Once a student has completed all of the pharmacy technician requirements of the program, they will be awarded with a certificate, associate’s degree, or diploma depending on the program.
Most states do not have pharmacy technician requirements in regard to certification, but employers usually prefer those who have taken the certification exams offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians since they know if someone has earned this certification they have the necessary skills to be a pharmacy technician.
Becoming a certified pharmacy technician requires passing one of the certification exams mentioned above, and completing 20 hours of continuing education every two years in order to keep your certification current. You can meet the certified pharmacy technician requirements without attending a formal program, however, it might be easier to learn the information necessary to pass the exams through formal study.
In order to qualify for the certification you need a high school diploma, no past drug convictions, and no felony convictions in the past five years, all of which are also requirements for those who are not certified. The main thing that sets apart Certified Pharmacy Technicians is the fact that they have passed the certification exam and completed the continuing education requirements to keep their certification current.