Pharmacy Technician

Job Duties

Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists in providing medication to pharmacy patients. They are responsible for a variety of routine tasks, such as counting tablets and labeling bottles, and refer any prescription questions to a pharmacist. They usually work in retail or mail-order pharmacies and their duties vary in accordance with State regulations. They greet customers and take written prescriptions from customers. They check to ensure the information on the prescription is accurate and complete. Then they begin preparing the order. To do this, they may retrieve, count, pour, weigh, measure, and sometimes mix medication. They create a prescription label and container, then check the prescription with a pharmacist. They may also keep patient records, prepare insurance forms, and stock inventory.

Pharmacy technicians who work in nursing homes, hospitals, and assisted-living facilities have more responsibility than those working in pharmacies. They are responsible for reading patients' charts, preparing medicine, and delivering it to patients. They may also put together a 24-hour supply of medicine for every patient in the facility. They package and label the doses separately, placing them in the patient's individual medicine cabinet where it is checked by a pharmacist before it is delivered.

Job Skills

Pharmacy technicians should have well-developed communication and customer service skills. They need to be alert, observant, organized, dedicated, and responsible. They must be good at following directions accurately. They should also be able to pay extremely close attention to detail.


In 2002, pharmacy technicians earned a median hourly wage of $10.70. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10%, who earned less than $7.44, to the highest 10%, who earned more than $15.82. The following shows the median annual salaries in the industries employing the highest numbers of pharmacy technicians:

  • General medical and surgical hospitals -- $12.32
  • Grocery stores -- $11.34
  • Drugs and druggist' sundries merchant wholesalers -- $10.60
  • Health and personal care stores -- $9.70
  • Department stores -- $9.69

Training and Education

Employers prefer to hire applicants for pharmacy technician jobs who have competed formal training, although most employers train employees on the job. Formal training programs include courses and laboratory work in areas such as medical and pharmaceutical terminology, pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacy record keeping, pharmaceutical techniques, and pharmacy law and ethics. Many programs include internships that allow students to gain valuable experience working in pharmacies. Prospective employees who have experience working as an aide in a community pharmacy or volunteering in a hospital have a major advantage over their competitors. Pharmacy technicians can become voluntarily certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. Eligibility requirements include a high school diploma, a record free of felony convictions, and successful passing of an exam. To renew their certification every 2 years, pharmacy technicians must complete continuing education courses.


In 2002, pharmacy technicians held about 211,000 jobs. Two-thirds worked in retail pharmacies. 22% worked in hospitals.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, employment of pharmacy technicians is expected to increase faster than the average. The population will continue to age rapidly, creating more demand for pharmaceutical products. Job opportunities will be good for full- and part-time positions. Opportunity will by best for those with experience and formal education.

For more information on becoming a pharmacy technician, please see our directory of schools offering Pharmacy Technician Training

Pharmacy Technician Training

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            Degree - Pharmacy Technology
            • Many programs require externships, allowing students to gain real-world experience.
            • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1984.
            • Offers 22 accelerated, career-focused program options including business administration, medical assisting, and more.
            • Regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
            • 11 campuses across California, with an online division as well.
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            Pharmacy Technician
            • A private, accredited distance learning college based in Norcross, Georgia founded in 1987.
            • Ensures that service members, their spouses and veterans can maximize their military education benefits.
            • Gives students the option to customize monthly payments to fit their budgets and lifestyle.
            • Offers all-inclusive tuition: textbooks, learning materials, and academic support are covered in the cost.
            • Allows alumni to enroll in any future program at a reduced rate.
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            Pharmacy Technician (11-Month Diploma Program)
            UEI College , San Marcos
            • Dedicated to providing  career training since 1975.
            • Has 13 campus locations in Southern California and a campus in Morrow, GA.
            • Provides flexible class times including weekends.
            • Offers curriculum that ranges from 8 month diploma programs to 16-month Associate of Applied Science degree programs.
            • Has admissions professionals available to help students decide which diploma or degree program they should pursue.
            • Gives job placement assistance strengthened by relationships with local employers.
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            Pharmacy Technician
            • Offers a free trial period so students can attend classes before paying tuition.
            • Provides blended courses that combine traditional classroom instruction with online learning.
            • Lets students connect with peers at any time, and instructors during office hours with online chat rooms.
            • Gives students the chance to participate in externships and clinical training work under the general supervision of college staff.
            • Has accelerated programs that allow students to take the same coursework in a shorter timeframe.
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            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • Transferable Credits
            Diploma - Pharmacy Technician
            • Committed to empowering students with education and skills to help them reach their goals since 1979.
            • Online programs include business management, RN to BSN, and more.
            • Technical assistance for students is available 24/7.
            • Institutional accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
            • Ground campuses are also available across Arizona and New Mexico. 
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            • Online Courses
            Pharmaceutical Technician
            • Offers career programs in accounting, cosmetology, massage therapy, physical fitness training, and more.
            • Provides hands-on training led by instructors who have relevant, on-the-job experience.
            • Each campus features a public salon and spa for student practice.
            • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 11 campuses across California, Texas, Nevada and Idaho, as well as 8 additional Milan Institute of Cosmetology campuses.
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            • Flexible Scheduling
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            Pharmacy Technician

            Why Brightwood?

            Real-World Training

            We keep education relevant by employing instructors with real-world experience in the field, who bring their career backgrounds to the classroom. Our programs are continually assessed by faculty, staff and members of the business and education communities to help ensure your studies align with your career goals. Programs offered by Brightwood College focus on local employment needs, in areas such as allied health, nursing and technical and professional programs.