Pharmacy Technicians: CCI Career Spotlight

pharmacy technician at work

For most Americans, if you are going to enter into a career, one of the first things you look at, outside of how much the position pays, is whether or not that career has longevity and job security. Industries that are growing right now, and have a good outlook for growth are the best places to put your time and effort into trying to break into.

As America’s medical industry continues to grow faster than almost any other sector, demand for pharmacy technicians is increasing as well. In addition to factors such as an aging population and increasing obesity that are driving this general growth, there is an additional factor specific to pharmacy work: increasing use of pharmaceuticals.

More Americans than ever are using prescription medicines. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in the period 2011-2014 almost 50% of Americans reported having used a prescription drug in the past 30 days. What’s more, 23% had used three or more and 12% had taken five or more medications. Given these numbers, it’s not surprising that pharmaceutical spending in the U.S. rose from $195 billion to $450 billion between 2002 and 2016. That’s an increase of 130% during a 14 year period in which our population only grew 12%!

Demand for prescription medicines doesn’t look to be easing up anytime soon, which means pharmacy technicians will continue to be in demand well into the future. Pharmacy technicians typically receive great pay and benefits and have hours that work for single parents or even those continuing to go to school while they work. If you are a high school graduate you are eligible to be certified as a pharmacy technician.

A Strong Job Market For Pharmacy Technicians

The job outlook for pharmacy technicians is very positive. Healthcare jobs, in general, are exploding in the U.S. with growth 20% faster than any other sector of the economy. In the decade from 2003 to 2013 employment in this sector soared by 22.7% nationally – the combined growth of other sectors, on the other hand, was only 2.1%.

With such demand, getting a job is easier, but there is quite a crowd vying for these positions. Standing out from other applicants is important, and you can achieve that goal by obtaining certifications before you apply for positions.

Pharmacy Technician Careers

The primary role of any pharmacy technician is to help with the measuring out and dispensing of prescription medications for patients. Pharmacy technicians are also usually the face of the pharmacy, speaking to customers, taking prescriptions, and advising patients and customers on the correct use of medications.

The ability to interact with patients and customers is a large part of the pharmacy technician. Many patients are sick or going through a battle fighting an illness when they see the pharmacy technicians to pick up their medication. It is important to greet these patients with care and sympathy. В Other duties of a pharmacy technician include:

  • Collecting patient data
  • Data entry and maintaining pharmacy records
  • Managing the pharmacy inventory
  • Filling out prescription forms
  • Dispensing filled scripts and taking payment
  • A variety of customer service duties

What skills do you need to be a Pharmacy Technician?

A pharmacy technician requires a wide range of skills to perform well in the role. These include, but certainly aren’t limited to:

  • Fast and accurate data entry skills
  • Time management and ability to stay organized
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Ability to work independently and to follow instruction
  • Ability to understand and communicate medical information clearly to patients and customers
  • Good interpersonal skills to maintain a positive team environment
  • Experience in the Microsoft Suite, including Word, Excel, and Outlook
  • Allied health math including the ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide into all units of measurement. This includes using whole numbers, common fractions, and decimals with an understanding of ratios, percentages, and rates.
  • Specialized skills that are looked on highly by employers include:
    • Understanding HIPAA Privacy
    • Phlebotomy training
    • CPR
    • Non-sterile Compounding
    • Sterile product preparation
    • Understanding of pharmacology, anatomy, and physiology

Employers are always seeking bilingual individuals to hire as pharmacy technicians. The ability to easily converse with customers and patients who speak a different language is a great added benefit for any employee and will likely lead to higher pay. Those seeking employment as a pharmacy technician who already have certificates in different areas of pharmacy technician work are also highly sought after as they require less training.

Where do Pharmacy Technicians work?

There is work for pharmacy technicians in a variety of settings. You’ll find them at your local retail pharmacy, of course, but there are also pharmacy technician roles in:

  • Compounding pharmacies
  • Mail-order pharmacies
  • Public and private hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Mental health facilities
  • Prison medical centers
  • Military medical facilities

The many different places you can work means that no matter where you are, there is likely a need for a pharmacy technician, and not only in the normal places you might think of.

Career Advancement

There is a range of options open for career progression if you start out as a pharmacy technician. Most people train up to become senior certified pharmacy technicians and stop there, but other options include registered nurses, lead pharmacy technicians, and pharmacists. Each of those paths leads, in turn, to new opportunities.

  • Pharmacy Technician Career Paths (United States)
  • Pharmacy TechnicianCertified
  • Pharmacy Technician (CPHT)Senior Certified
  • Pharmacy TechnicianHospital
  • Pharmacy TechnicianPharmacy Technician
  • LeadSenior Pharmacy Technician
  • Pharmacy Technician Instructor
  • Retail Pharmacist
  • Emergency Room
  • Senior Certified Pharmacy Technician
  • Pharmacy Technician, Lead
  • Registered Nurse (RN)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Charge Nurse (RN)Pharmacist
  • Pharmacist in Charge

A good training center will help you to plan your career path. At CCI, our community will help you decide which path will most benefit your career goals as well as what will fit best with your family’s lifestyle. Drag job titles to investigate a particular path and click on a link to see where a particular career can lead.

Explore more career paths В»

What are the job opportunities available for Pharmacy Technicians?

A quick search of an online job board Indeed shows that there are plenty of jobs out there for pharmacy technicians.

Getting certifications done before you apply for pharmacy positions can greatly increase the speed with which you are offered a position and the starting pay you are likely to receive. Given this industry’s booming growth, it is well worth your time to get certified in certain pharmacy technician certifications. You will show your employer you have the skills necessary, the motivation to succeed, and they can trust your dedication to the profession as a smart hire who will stick around for many years to come.

Make yourself the best candidate you can be to obtain a career in the medical field with your certifications and ensure your family’s financial well-being. With the opportunity for advancement, your lifestyle changes will not only be permanent but grow over time.

How can CCI training help with your Pharmacy Technician career?

CCI Training Center has instructors who will not only help you to become certified in many areas of the medical field, but they will help guide you to the ones you are most apt for. Along with the other students, you will network with many individuals that will be able to connect you with your first job and help you with your growth in the medical industry as a pharmacy technician and beyond.

CCI Training Center can provide you with all the training and guidance you need to excel at the test to earn your pharmacy technician certification. We also include training to prepare for certifications in phlebotomy, compounding, and sterile product preparation to boost your employability and your starting salary.

Are you ready to better your financial situation and make a career change that will also offer you a lifestyle change? We know your family’s financial security and future are important to you. Take the first steps and call CCI Training Center to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff about how to start your journey to becoming a certified pharmacy technician.


Carey Maceira Allied Health Program Manager CCI Training Center

CCI Training Center is proud to have completed 40 years in service.