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What is a Pharmacy Technician?

what is a pharmacy technician
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A pharmacy technician assists pharmacists in dispensing medications and are accountable to the supervising pharmacist who is legally responsible for the care and safety of patients served by the pharmacy.

What is a Pharmacy Technician’s Job Description?

This is highly dependent on each individual states laws and the policy of the pharmacy, but they can include the following:

  • Counting out medications
  • Input prescriptions
  • Can pull medication off the shelf
  • Affix labels to medications
  • Reconstitute (mix) medications prior to dispensing

Where can pharmacy technicians work and what do they usually do there?

Great question! There are a variety of locations where a Pharmacy Technician may be able to work with varying tasks. Some examples would include: a hospital, community (retail), long term care (LTC), mail order, specialty, nuclear pharmacy and Coagulation Therapy Technician.


This is going to be your usual retail pharmacy, such as a chain drug store and independent pharmacies. As you may already suspect, most of the duties that are included in the community setting are already listed above.


A hospital pharmacy technician is quite different than a retail pharmacy technician. There is more technical, or more skilled, work in a variety of settings, such as you would find in an emergency/ operating room or post anesthesia recovery unit. The additional duties of a hospital technician may include:

  • Compounding/creating IVs of medications including creams, chemotherapy drugs, and other medications that were once in a different form and turned into a solution to be able to be used in a patients IV.
  • Maintain and Refill Pyxis or SureMed machines, which are the machines that doctors and nurses withdraw certain medication from in the different wards of the hospital.

Ways to get nationally certified

There are currently three ways to become a certified or registered Pharmacy Technician:

For Texas residents you must register with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy and apply for a Technician in Training License.

  • PTCE – Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam
  • ExCPT – Exam for Certification for Pharmacy Technician

You may be wondering what the difference is between these two exams? Well, there isn’t much of a difference between the two, regarding what you need to know to become certified, but how you go about getting them is different. To find out more on which states require a state license go HERE

What can I use to study for the national certification test?

With some help from our pharmacy tech students currently enrolled at Southern Careers Institute, we have compiled a list of study materials that may help you prepare for national certification. There are other options, and the list continues to grow, so stay alert and engaged as you seek to attend a pharmacy technician school.

This article was published on: 07/16/19 12:12 PM

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