Are you interested in math, anatomy, physiology and health care? Would you like to find a career that combines these interests? Then pharmacy technology may interest you.
Pharmacy Technology programs can prepare you to be a pharmacy technician, who works under the supervision of a pharmacist to help distribute prescription medications to customers and health professionals. Pharmacy technicians are detail-oriented individuals with excellent people and organizational skills. They work in pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, pharmaceutical companies and more.
This guide walks you through everything you need to know about pharmacy technology and how to become a pharmacy technician in California, including:
- Job growth
- Required skills
- Licensure requirements
- Certification information
- Education programs and coursework
Why Become a Pharmacy Technician in California?
The BLS reports that California has the second-highest employment level of pharmacy technicians in May 20202.
What Is Driving the Growth of Pharmacy Technician Careers?
What’s causing the projected employment of pharmacy technicians? The BLS notes the following6:
- Aging population: These individuals need more prescription medicines than younger people.
- Growth of chronic diseases: As the rate of chronic diseases increases, more prescription medications will be needed. Examples of chronic diseases include diabetes, arthritis, cancer and asthma.
- Pharmaceutical research advances: Progress in pharmaceutical research will lead to more opportunities for medications to combat diseases.
- Expanding role of pharmacists: Pharmacists roles are expanding, requiring them to perform more patient care activities, like administering flu shots. Pharmacy technicians will be needed to take on activities that were generally performed by pharmacists. Such activities include gathering patient information, preparing a broader range of medications and confirming other technicians’ work.
Where do Pharmacy Technicians Work?
Pharmacy technicians primarily work in pharmacies and hospitals. The pharmacy setting could be in a drug, general merchandise or grocery store. Per the BLS, the biggest employers of pharmacy technicians include7:
- Pharmacies and drugstores – 50%
- Hospitals – 17%
- Food and beverage stores – 10%
While pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens are common employers of pharmacy technicians, these aren’t the only settings that you can work in as a pharmacy technician. Other options include working at a pharmaceutical company, health clinic, nursing home or assisted living facility, compounding pharmacy, or mail-order pharmacy.
Wondering what the difference is between a compounding pharmacy and a pharmacy within a retail drug store? To learn about these and additional pharm tech work environments, check out our article, “Where can you work as a pharmacy technician?”