Job Description

According to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy, a pharmacy technician is an individual who is registered with the Board as a pharmacy technician and whose responsibility in a pharmacy is to provide technical services that do not require professional judgment regarding preparing and distributing drugs and who works under the direct supervision of and is responsible to a pharmacist.

The main duties of pharmacy technicians include:

  • Preparing and filling prescription medications
  • Assisting customers when placing or picking up their orders
  • Routine clerical tasks such as taking prescription requests from doctors, inputting customer information into the computer, and labeling bottles.
  • Pharmacy technicians are able to perform most of the work of pharmacists up to an including filling prescriptions but may not offer advice or perform the final count of dispensed medication.  In all cases, they work under the direct supervision of pharmacists.

Although the majority of pharmacy technicians work in retail stores such as WalMart, Walgreens, or CVS, there are also job opportunities available in such other settings as hospitals, nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, pharmaceutical warehouses, mail order pharmacies, research labs, as well as federal agencies (e.g. Food and Drug Administration).

To succeed in this role, pharmacy technicians must be highly detail oriented, be good with numbers, exercise sound judgment, able to multitask, and possess excellent customer service skills.

Education and Training Requirements

As per Gay Dodson, R.Ph. Executive Director of the Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP) there are currently no formal educational requirements to become a pharmacy technician in the state, aside from possession of a high school diploma or GED. This is because most pharmacy technicians are trained on-the-job by senior pharmacy technicians or pharmacists.

For those who do choose to pursue training through a local community college or vocational school, the TSBP recommends enrolling in a program that is accredited by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP). The TSBP designates any program as “board approved” that has such accreditation.

View a list of schools in Texas offering pharmacy technician programs.

Many training programs will include a clinical component during which students will have the opportunity to work in a pharmacy setting under supervision of Pharmacist. Students must be registered with TSBP as a pharmacy technician trainee before they may participate in such a clinical placement.

While a degree or certificate is not necessary to become a pharmacy technician in Texas, it can help you to obtain a supervisory position, along with increased pay.

How to become a Pharmacy Technician Trainee

A pharmacy technician trainee is an individual who is registered with the board as a pharmacy technician trainee and is authorized to participate in an externship program offered by a 2-year college or vocational school.  The requirements to become a trainee are as follows:

  • Possess high school diploma or GED
  • Active enrollment in a certificate or two-year Pharmacy Technician program
  • Obtain Pharmacy Technician Trainee status through the Texas State Board of Pharmacy. Trainee status is valid for two years during which time the student must take and pass the certification exam administered by the PTCB.
    • Complete an application with date of high school graduate/award of GED and social security number and program of study.
    • Have fingerprints taken
    • The name, address, and pharmacy license number of your clinical site
    • No felony convictions
    • No suspension, denial, revocation, or limitations on your registration or licensure by any State Board of Pharmacy;
    • No substance-abuse convictions, including pharmacy-related drugs. Any violations, including misdemeanors, must be reported to PTCB.

How to become a Pharmacy Technician

  • Possess high school diploma or GED
  • Complete an application with date of high school graduate/award of GED and social security number
  • Have fingerprints taken
  • Pass certification exam administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). Once you pass this exam you will designed a Certified Pharmacy technician (CPhT)
  • Become registered with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy after passing the PTCB exam
  • The name, address, and pharmacy license number of the pharmacy in which you plan to work, if known
  • No felony convictions
  • No suspension, denial, revocation, or limitations on your registration or licensure by any State Board of Pharmacy;
  • No substance-abuse convictions, including pharmacy-related drugs. Any violations, including misdemeanors, must be reported to PTCB.

Career Outlook

As the aging of the population continues to grow with new families of drugs being introduced on a fairly regular basis, greater numbers of people are using prescription medication to treat illness and disease. In tandem with this trend, cost-minded health insurance providers are calling upon pharmacists to expand their role into direct patient care and education. Pharmacists, in turn, are relying upon pharmacy technicians to meet the increased demand for medications while maintaining high levels of safety and accuracy. Arising from this, there will continue to be a strong demand for pharmacy technicians.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the field of pharmacy technician is expected to increase by 31% from 2008 to 2016, reflecting a much faster rate of growth than the average for all occupations.

Salary

Below are the median annual salaries for Pharmacy Technicians-Level 1 (Entry-level) in major metropolitan cities:

Corpus Christi $30, 163
Dallas $32,979
Fort Worth $32,690.
Houston $33,076
San Antonio $30,031
Data derived from Salary.com

Career Growth

There is also opportunity for pharmacy technicians to specialize in one area such as chemotherapy or nuclear medicine.  Those with strong performance records in larger-size companies may be promoted into such supervisory roles as Senior Pharmacy Technician, although they will still be under the direct supervision of pharmacists. Another avenue of career growth is for pharmacy technicians to continue their education to become a pharmacist (typically through a five year undergraduate program).

Work Environment. As noted, pharmacy technicians work in a variety of settings. They often have scattered schedules with evenings, weekend and holiday work often required, especially within health care settings, such as hospitals, that are open 24 hours. Physical stamina is important as the work requires standing for long periods, along with the need to lift sometimes heavy boxes of medication and using stepladders to retrieve supplied from higher shelves.

Resources

1 Texas State Board of Pharmacy http://www.tsbp.state.tx.us/Pharmacytechs.htm