Pharmacy Technician – Go For It!

I frequently answer pharmacy technician related questions on various question and answer sites. The one thing that frequently comes up is “should I do it,” typically regarding pharmacy technician training or pharmacy technician certification. Well, the answer is yes. Whatever it is, do your research (thorough, but quick) and make a decision. There is something that I have run across during my training and experience, and it is “Analysis Paralysis.” We are afraid of making the wrong decision, so we make no decision. Can I just say that no decision is often the wrong decision.


I should clarify, making a decision doesn’t necessarily mean taking the first pharmacy technician school you come across and forking over your hard earned (or not even earned yet) money. If your state requires formal training or you have decided to go after formal training to set your self up for success, then take a look at as many options as you can around you. From this website, you can check out your state’s requirements and some of the schools in your state, hopefully you have already done this, if not then go there now. In addition to the schools I have listed, also check out your local community colleges. Take action by calling and visiting the schools. Talk to current students. Call a pharmacy and ask which program has the best trained techs. Do your research and then yes, make a decision and go for it.

This goes for national certification as well. Whether you are completing a formal training program or not, get a study guide and actually read it. From experience, the test is hard, but not too bad if you read the study guide. For a list of good study guides, you can see my recommendations on the certification page. Pick up one of the guides I recommend or pay a little more for the one at PTCB.org. In this case, I recommend all techs obtain national certification. So, get a book (unless you are in a formal training program and they have focused on passing the exam as part of your curriculum) and read it, study it, own the information. I strongly consider paying for the practice exam at PTCB so you can see first hand how the questions are (plus, they are very close to the actual questions you’ll get).

Okay, I hope you get the message . . . no analysis paralysis. Make a decision and go for it!

Best of luck all, -Rob

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  1. I graduated with a degree in chemical engineering with a very low gpa 2.3. Should I get a pharmacy tech certification? How can this help me to get my first engineering job? What books should I study for the exam. I am don't have money for the program. Any advice is helpful. Thanks!

  2. I went to school a few years ago and got my pharmacy technician license. I forgot to renew it as I wasn't using it, but now I want to renew it, but before I do I want to refresh my memory on what I learned a few years ago. Does anyone know where I can go to do so?

  3. I know a great career awaits those with Pharm Tech Certification but its kind of scary to enter the field. Anyway, some institution offers pharm tech certification trainings for less than 12 months…do you think its enough?or is it too good to be true?

    • Hi Paula,
      Many programs are only two semesters long. I think that is a sufficient amount of time to become a pharmacy technician.

  4. I'm starting a internship at a hospital where a previous student in my program did a no call no show and I'm a little rusty on my hospital pharmacy skills do you have any tips for me and things I need to refresh on so I can make the program look good and be an efficient worker?

    • Hi Jay, great question. Hopefully the hospital site you will extern with is more like my hospital. We assume most places have similar training, so we look at each technician individually. You already know the answer to your question though: show up on time and ready to work, be accountable for what you say or are asked to do. Here are the basics, make sure you learn as much as you can in your first couple of days so that you can start to be helpful to the staff. even if you learn some basic tasks, such as filling new labels coming off the printer. If an order comes in (most hospitals receive two big orders a day from the wholesaler), offer to help put the medications on the shelf (after they show you how they like it to be done). Never be afraid to ask questions, versus winging it (most times you will be wrong, since pharmacies have specific processes they follow for everything). If you have a very live personality, tone it down at work some (don't be afraid to be you, but don't be disruptive to the chemistry of the department). even if other techs are standing around doing nothing, make sure the labels are filled and things are delivered or tubed (if they have a tube station, this is another easy thing to learn quickly). Learn as many different technician roles as you can, and at the end of your experience, if you have proven yourself, volunteer to cover an area when someone calls in sick. Externs who we trust to do that and do it well get on my short list to hire. Right now I am scrambling to hire two externs that worked hard and had low drama (one of my new expectations is low drama, I have had too much lately). At the end, if the pharmacy can only get you on PRN, then do it. I frequently hire my full-time positions with PRN staff. Best of luck, Rob

  5. i want to study on line to have my certificate on Pharmacy Technician …. i finished my Chemical engineering and presently working as a government employee but i want to have a good career which is inline to my course so i decided to study on line with this course .pls help me to do it and obtain my certificate.tell me how and when and how much, pls… i'll be glad to hear from you soon.

    • Susan, I will help you in any way I can; however, are you sure this is what you want to do? Pharmacy technician is a great entry level career you can use as a stepping stone or a career to build on long-term. If you already have you chemical engineering degree, I would have thought that you might want to stay in the engineering area. If you are still interested in becoming a pharmacy technician, go through the steps on the home page and let me know if you have nay questions. Start with determining your state requirements and go from there. The state you live in may not allow for online training. Best of luck,