Pharmacy technicians assist licensed pharmacists in serving customers and filling prescriptions. In the United States, pharmacy technicians are not required to have a diploma or degree or other standard training, although employers favor technicians with formal training or certification through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT). You do not need formal training to get certification. Most states have a Board of Pharmacy that requires registration.
Libraries can often acquire training materials through interlibrary loan. Ask your librarian to borrow preparatory materials like:
"The Pharmacy Technician, Fourth Edition" and "The Pharmacy Technician Workbook and Certification Review, Fourth Edition"; American Pharmacists Association; 2010
"Pharmacy Certified Technician Training Manual, Eleventh Edition"; JM Lile, DE Miller and AL Rybicki; 2008
"APhA's Complete Review for the Pharmacy Technician"; LM Posey; 2001
"Certification Review for Pharmacy Technicians, Eighth Edition"; N Reifman; 2002
"The National Pharmacy Technician Training Program, Seventh Edition"; KW Schafermeyer; 2008
Free Materials Online
Pharmacy technicians need to know medical and pharmaceutical terminology, pharmacology, chemistry and reactions between drugs, as well as how to calculate dosages and read prescription forms. You can find information online about drugs and drug interactions by reading the websites of pharmaceutical companies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and consumer sites like rxlist.com. You can find medical and pharmaceutical terminology at sites like healthcarefreeware.com. Finally, you can learn the mathematics involved in calculating dosages by visiting websites like metric-conversions.org to learn about the metric system and metric conversions and helpwithfractions.com to learn about calculating fractions.
Many employers, especially retail pharmacies, offer on-the-job training. If you have non-pharmacy work experience with customer service, inventory management, cash register operation and computer use, then you may be able to get a job as a trainee. During that time you can expect to be paid less than a certified or experienced employee, and training can take from three to twelve months.
Nashvillian Elizabeth Merriam has been a professional writer since 2000. Her work has appeared in more than 100 periodicals, including "Visual Arts News" and "Eastword." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and mathematics from Dalhousie University in Canada.