Pharmacy Technician: Career Information

Job Description - Pharmacy Technician:

A pharmacy technician assists a pharmacist with the preparation of prescription medications for customers. He or she may receive written prescription requests from customers or may receive requests sent electronically or phoned in by doctors' offices. A pharmacy technician's duties vary depending on the state in which he or she works.

Employment Facts - Pharmacy Technician:

There were 326,000 pharmacy technicians employed in 2008.

Educational Requirements - Pharmacy Technician:

There are no formal training requirements for pharmacy technicians, but getting the "right" training can make one more appealing to employers. For example, many pharmacy technicians receive only on-the-job training, but employers prefer those who have attended a formal training program at a community college, vocational school, hospital or in the military. Formal training programs last from six months to two years, while on-the-job training lasts from three months to a year.

Other Requirements - Pharmacy Technician:

Pharmacy technicians working in most states must register with that state's board of pharmacy. Several organizations offer certification. In many states this certification is voluntary, but in others it is required. Certification, like formal training, may make a pharmacy technician more appealing to employers.

Advancement Opportunities - Pharmacy Technician:

An experienced pharmacy technician may eventually become a supervisor. Some in this field further their education in order to become a pharmacist.

Job Outlook - Pharmacy Technician:

The job outlook for pharmacy technicians is excellent. This occupation is projected to grow faster, through 2018, than other occupations that require only on-the-job training or experience (The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Earnings - Pharmacy Technician:

Pharmacy technicians earned median hourly wages of $13.49 and a median annual salary of $28,070 in 2009.

Use the Salary Wizard at to find out how much a Pharmacy Technician currently earns in your city.

A Day in a Pharmacy Technician's Life:


On a typical day a pharmacy technician's tasks might include:

  • receiving prescription requests in writing, electronically or by phone
  • verifying information on prescription requests
  • maintaining patient profiles which include lists of medications
  • answering phones
  • filling bottles with prescribed medications and labeling them

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Pharmacy Technicians, on the Internet at (visited April 22, 2010).
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Pharmacy Technicians, on the Internet at (visited December 2, 2010).

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