A high school diploma is a minimum educational requirement to become a pharmacy technician; however, candidates need additional education or hands-on training to prepare for this career. To take the educational route, an aspiring technician could complete a one-year certificate or diploma, or a two-year associate degree in pharmacy technology at a community college.
Math, medication dispensing and pharmacy law are common courses included in a pharmacy degree program. These courses teach the basics of accurately preparing medications and following regulations on record-keeping, dispensation and patient interactions. In addition to class content, it is typical to complete hands-on clinical training as part of a certificate or degree program.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that most states require technicians to be licensed or certificated through standards established by the state Board of Pharmacy. Some states require pharmacy technicians to complete a formal college education program or a similar type of formal training program in a pharmacy setting. Although requirements vary, other common elements include completion of a certification exam, a criminal background check and payment of a fee.
Some states also require formal certification for applicants. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the National Healthcareer Association are the organizations that offer recognized certifications. Even when not required, certification improves employment options.