Role in the Pharmacy
Pharmacy technicians help licensed pharmacists prepare prescription medications, provide customer service, and perform administrative duties within a variety of practice settings, including community, health-system, and federal pharmacy. They are generally responsible for receiving prescription requests, counting tablets, labeling bottles, maintaining patient profiles, preparing insurance claim forms, and performing administrative functions such as answering phones, stocking shelves, and operating cash registers.
Certification is the process by which a non-governmental association or agency grants recognition to an individual who has met predetermined qualifications specified by that association or agency. The PTCE is recognized in all 50 states even though regulations to work as a pharmacy technician vary from state to state. Contact your State Board of Pharmacy for more information. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy is an additional resource.
Pharmacy technician wages are often dependent on experience, qualifications, work environment, geographic location and employer. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook 2015 Edition, the median* hourly wage of pharmacy technicians in May 2015 was $14.62 per hour, and the annual median pay was $30,410. According to BLS, the lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,950, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $45,030.
In May 2015, the median annual wages for pharmacy technicians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
| General medical and surgical hospitals; private || $35,280 |
| Other general merchandise stores ||29,750 |
| Department stores ||29,220 |
| Grocery stores ||28,730 |
| Pharmacies and drug stores ||28,360 |
Most pharmacy technicians work full time, according to BLS. Pharmacies may be open at all hours. Therefore, pharmacy technicians may have to work nights or weekends.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), employment of pharmacy technicians is expected to increase by 9% from 2014 to 2024. The BLS also suggests that pharmacy technicians with formal education or training, previous work experience, and national certification will be specifically sought after to meet these demands.
The American Association of Pharmacy Technicians (AAPT) and the National Association of Pharmacy Technicians (NPTA) have developed free Career Centers to assist pharmacy technicians in their job search. The Career Centers are available to both job seekers and employers.
Results from a Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) sponsored survey found that lead pharmacists perceive pharmacy technician certification as an essential component in reducing medication errors, ensuring patient safety, and increasing positive health outcomes. The results, summarized by researcher Shane Desselle, R.Ph, PhD, FAPhA, Associate Dean for Tulsa Programs, Chair, and Professor of the Department of Pharmacy: Clinical and Administrative Sciences at University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy, reflect data from 609 valid responses to a survey of more than 3,200 pharmacists serving in a variety of practice settings across the United States. The study is published in the Journal of Pharmacy Technology.
*The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less.