What is a Pharmacy Technician?


Pharmacies play an important role in the healthcare field, ensuring patients receive the medications they need. Pharmacy technicians must have the knowledge and training to fulfill their duties and provide customers with the best possible service. Becoming a pharmacy technician is a quick way to enter this field and may lead to greater opportunities down the road. It’s a career field that is expected to grow over the next ten years as more medications come to market and the population continues to age.


If you're interested in becoming a Pharmacy Technician, you should consider enrolling in UEI College's Pharmacy Technician Program. The program is short-term, allowing you to earn a Pharmacy Technician Diploma in as few as 10 Months!

What is a Pharmacy Technician?

A pharmacy technician is an individual who works alongside a pharmacist and helps them fulfill prescription medications for patients. They help with tasks at pharmacies to free up a pharmacist's time so that pharmacists can spend more time answering patient questions and fulfilling tasks that require pharmacists. A pharmacy technician is often the first person to respond to a customer, making them a sort of liaison between the patient and the pharmacist.


Pharmacy technicians help with each step of preparing medications for patients. They review orders as they come in, measure and prepare medications to fulfill prescriptions, perform necessary calculations, review orders for accuracy, update patient records, submit billing information, and distribute medications to patients.


Pharmacy technicians are trained to keep preparation areas sanitized, handle medications safely, and can even prepare medications used to treat cancer.


Pharmacy technicians may also perform clerical tasks around the office, like answering general questions over the phone, referring patients to the pharmacist when necessary, and keeping track of inventory.


In order to perform these tasks, pharmacy technicians must have training in the following areas:

  • Pharmaceutical math for drug dosages
  • Interpreting drug labels
  • Pharmacy organization
  • Sterile drug compounding
  • Pharmacy equipment
  • Pharmaceutical terminology
  • Medications used to treat common disorders
  • Chemotherapy medications

Where Do Pharmacy Technicians Work?

Pharmacy technicians work in a variety of settings, each with a unique organizational structure and policies. In each setting, they work under the direct supervision of a pharmacist. These settings may include:


1. Hospital Pharmacies

Hospitals must have a good stock of medications on hand to treat the variety of illnesses that come through the door. Pharmacy technicians help fill orders from providers and ensure proper doses of medications are being given—enough to last just a few days during their stay.


Pharmacy technicians in a hospital fill orders, keep track of inventory, and keep careful records of the medications given out. They may also compound medications, creating a customized prescription that fits a doctor’s orders. Technicians in a hospital generally communicate with doctors and nurses rather than directly with a patient and provide medications to the provider, who then administers the medication to the patient.


Hospitals are generally very busy, with many providers and nurses coming in and out. Working in this setting requires great attention to detail, especially in records that are kept.


2. Retail Pharmacies

Pharmacy technicians in a retail setting prepare and distribute medications directly to patients to self-administer. This requires excellent customer service skills. These orders come from the doctor and usually provide enough of the medication to last a week or several months.


Retail pharmacy technicians also keep careful records and use a computer to verify orders, process insurance claims, and maintain customer files.


Retail pharmacists may help patients find over-the-counter medications and also help stock and clean the pharmacy area.


3. Mail Order Pharmacies

Pharmacy technicians in a mail-order setting rarely come face to face with patients or providers, but they are in communication with these people by phone and email to verify information. They confirm insurance coverage, submit billing information, assemble medications and pack the medications for distribution. Most mail-order facilities like to hire pharmacy technicians who have experience working in a retail or hospital setting first, as some mail-order settings have less direct supervision over employees.

How to Become a Pharmacy Technician?

Becoming a pharmacy technician does not require a college degree, but it does take some training to get started. To become a pharmacy technician, you will need to:


Step #1. Earn a High School Diploma

The job of a pharmacy technician requires some basic math skills and calculations, so a high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement of most employers. If you do not have a high school diploma yet, you can still begin training to become a pharmacy technician. UEI College has options to help you earn your high school diploma while you receive pharmacy technician training.


Step #2. Complete a Pharmacy Technician Training Program.

A good training program will teach you the basics of managing medications and working within the healthcare field. A hands-on program will give you the experience to begin your career with confidence.

Become licensed in your state. Certification and licensing requirements vary from one state to another, but your training program should prepare you for whatever the next steps are where you live.


Step #3. Find a Position

After graduating from a Pharmacy Technician Program, it's time to find a position as a pharmacy technician. Our career services team will help you with your search.


For more detailed information, check out how to become a pharmacy technician.

How Long Does Pharmacy Technician School Take to Complete?

The length of a pharmacy technician training program varies depending on the school you go to. If you are looking to begin this new career as soon as possible, consider enrolling in UEI College's Pharm Tech Program. Our program can be completed in as few as 10 Months!


When selecting a program, look for a program that covers a wide variety of topics and provides opportunities to put each concept into action with hands-on lab experiences. The pharmacy technician training program at UEI College also ends with a hands-on externship inside a real pharmacy. This gives students the opportunity to learn directly from those in the field and put their skills into practice in a real-world setting. An externship provides a valuable experience that can be listed on a resume as well as great connections with those in the field. Students who go above and beyond during this experience could even be hired by their externship site.

Enroll at UEI College To Become a Pharmacy Technician

If you are interested in becoming a Pharmacy Technician, you should consider enrolling in UEI College's Pharmacy Technician Program. Our program is short-term, allowing you to earn a Pharmacy Technician Diploma in as few as 10 Months.


Stop by today to take a tour of our facility, see the labs and pharmacy technician classroom, and see if you qualify for financial assistance. Our ongoing enrollment allows you to enroll today and begin classes on the next start date—usually within one month. With a flexible in-person and online schedule, morning or evening classes, and supportive staff and instructors, there’s no excuse to wait any longer. Start today on a career you can be proud of!