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HandWiki. Pharmacy Technician. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 19 June 2024).
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HandWiki. "Pharmacy Technician" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 19, 2024).
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HandWiki. "Pharmacy Technician." Encyclopedia. Web. 30 November, 2022.
Pharmacy Technician

A pharmacy technician is a title-protected, licensed health care provider who performs pharmacy-related functions, working collaboratively with a licensed pharmacist.

pharmacy technician health care provider pharmacist

1. Description

They are members of the pharmacy workforce trained in the technical aspects of the supply of medicines and medical devices to patients. They may have a high level of expertise and ability to tackle difficult situations. Some pharmacy technicians are experts in their fields; for example, medicines management, clinical trials and aseptically compounding sterile and non-sterile medicines. Pharmacy technicians work in a variety of locations (usually in community, retail, and hospital pharmacies), but can also work for long-term care facilities, pharmaceutical manufacturers, third-party insurance companies, computer software companies, in government, or in teaching. Job responsibilities often include dispensing prescription drugs and other medical devices to patients and instructing patients on their use. They may also perform administrative duties in pharmaceutical practice, such as reviewing prescription requests with doctor's offices and insurance companies to ensure correct medications are provided and payment is received. Additionally, pharmacy technicians handle inventory related tasks such as cycle counts and returning expired and damaged medications back to the manufacturers. Pharmacy technicians may take on the role of Compounding Supervisor, overseeing day to day sterile and non-sterile medicines preparation while meeting standards required by regulatory bodies.

In recent times, pharmacy technicians also speak directly with the patients on the phone to aid in the awareness of taking medications on time.[1][2][3][4] In many countries, both developed and developing, the relative importance of pharmacy technicians within the pharmacy workforce has been amplified in recent years, largely as a reaction to pharmacist shortages, resulting in an increase in their numbers and responsibilities;[5] alternative medicine, pharmacotherapeutics, customer care, retail and hospital software systems, inventory management, and infection control.[4][6]

Practical training, such as completing an internship in a pharmacy, is required as part of training for licensing and employment as a pharmacy technician.[4][7] Many employers favour pharmacy technicians to be certified by a national and/or local pharmacy boards by passing standard written and practical examinations, including paying licensing fees and obtaining liability insurance. In the United States , voluntary certification is available through many private organizations.[2] Elsewhere, such as in Canada, Tanzania and the United Kingdom , pharmacy technicians are required to be registered with a provincial or a national regulatory body or council.

2. Training and Practice

In the United States, there is no mandated regulatory agency governing the training of pharmacy technicians. Each state has a Board of Pharmacy which regulates the licensure of pharmacy technicians in their state.[8] Licensure requirements vary widely by state. Some states require training from board-approved schools, national certification, on-the-job training or no requirements at all. There are two certification exams for pharmacy technicians that are accredited by the NCCA.[9] The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board[10] and the National Healthcareer Association[11] offer Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) exams.

Starting January 2020, the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) enacted a requirement that, prior to examination, an applicant for certification must complete an ASHP (American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists) accredited pharmacy technician education program, a PTCB recognized training program, or 500 hours of training.[12] This was a hotly debated issue, as training school were under scrutiny regarding the issuance of Title IV loans.[13] However, the National Healthcareer Association had similar requirements prior to the PTCB enacting the 2020 requirements. According to, all that is required to become a Nationally Certified Pharmacy Technician is:

  1. a demonstrated ability of the material necessary to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam[14]
  2. achievement 18 years of age or older[14]
  3. no disqualifying conditions such as a felony conviction or drug related misdemeanor.[14]

In the United States, authorization by the state, territory or district (with the exception of certain pharmacies operated by the Department of Defense) in which you intend to practice by licensure is required, initially national certification is not always required. Pennsylvania does not require any license to be a pharmacy technician. Most commonly, obtaining national certification is required after being licensed for a specific amount of time. The amount of time a licensed pharmacy technician has to become nationally certified differs in duration per state. For example, in the state of Illinois, Pharmacy Technicians must become nationally certified before their 2nd annual license renewal. Continuing education (often called by the acronym "CE") after national certification is required for certification renewal.

In Canada, according to a 2007 profile of the pharmacy technician workforce, 43% of technicians work in hospitals and other related facilities, 37% in chain or franchise community pharmacies, and 16% in independent community pharmacies.[15] Most (62%) obtained pharmacy technician training from a career college or community college, some (16%) had only a high school education and no formal pharmacy training, while about 20% had some university education. A very small proportion (2%) had trained and worked abroad as either pharmacists or pharmacy technicians. The wide range of technical training and educational attainment likely reflects in part the variety of training programs for pharmacy technicians currently available in the different provinces and territories of the country.[15] Accredited Pharmacy Technician diploma, certificate and college programs are offered in the Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.[16]

In provinces and jurisdictions where pharmacy technician is a regulated occupation, liability insurance is required in order to practice.[17]

3. National Variations

3.1. Colombia

In Colombia, pharmacy technicians are known as Pharmacy Regency Technologists, erroneously called Pharmacy Regents. They graduate of several universities after three years of training. This occupation appeared due to the lack of pharmacists in Colombia, that is why they are commonly confused with pharmacists. The Pharmacy Regency Technicians in Colombia are regulated and monitored by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection.

3.2. Germany

According to the German Statistisches Bundesamt, in 2011, 66,867 pharmacy technicians ("Pharmazeutisch-technische Assistenten") are working in Germany. About 90% are working as employees in community pharmacies. Their salary (approx. 1,837 - 2,400 Euros) is part of agreements between employers associations and Adexa.

3.3. Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, pharmacy technicians are known as Assistant Pharmacists. They graduate of several universities after three and half years of education And training. This occupation appeared due to the lack of pharmacists in Saudi Arabia in 1990, that is why they are commonly confused with pharmacists. The Pharmacy Regency Technicians in Saudi Arabia are regulated and monitored by the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties.

According to the MOH Statistics, there are about 8,471 of pharmacy technicians working in MOH Saudi Arabia 2015.

In 2010, the Minister of Health, Abdullah Al-Rabiah, issued a decision to stop the teaching of pharmacy technicians immediately.

3.4. Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, the National Apprentices and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) has developed National Competency Standards (NCS) leading to the award of NVQ Level 4 certification as pharmacy technician for pharmacy employees who have above four years of experience. The NCS is approved by the Tertiary And Vocational Education Commission in 2016 and presently it is being implemented. There are over 10,000 experienced employees allover the Island will benefit.

The one year training will consists of subject areas in compounding, dispensing, stock management, housekeeping practices and customer care development. The first batch of 154 certified pharmacy technicians are already employed in the community pharmacy sector.

3.5. Ghana

In Ghana, a 2009 assessment of pharmaceutical human resources identified a total of 1,637 practicing pharmacists (1 per 14,400 population), 918 practising pharmacy Technicians/Technologists (1 per 25,600), and 1,642 medicine counter assistants (1 per 14,300). Nearly half (45%) of pharmacies and pharmaceutical manufacturers across the country reported having one or more vacancies for pharmaceutical personnel, including 82% of public sector facilities.[18]

In the area of training, the assessment identified only one pharmacy technologists training school in the country (enrolling 70 students in the Higher National Diploma program).[18]

3.6. India

In India, Medical Colleges CPR (Mccpr) provides full training on pharmacy technician. The basic eligibility in India to enroll in this course is 10+2 or diploma. There are two batches a year that intakes approximately 40 students per batch.

3.7. Nigeria

Pharmacy technicians in Nigeria make up 75% of pharmaceutical work force and are looking for their council (pharmacy technician and technologist council of Nigeria) reason being the pharmacist council of Nigeria (PCN) refuses to allocate responsibilities that will give them right to practice at community level interdependently. The case was in court and the court ruled against PCN on 12/3/2008.

Nigerian pharmacy technicians in collaboration with NBTE are currently saving Nigerian Economy and Nigerians from the professional monopoly played by pharmacist Council of Nigeria (PCN) which led to abundant fake drugs due lack of manpower. This exposed Nigerian to a lot of problems which lead reduction in productivity leading to sustainable poverty. Nigerian Pharmacy technicians in collaboration with NBTE are able to achieve these by introducing ND/HND in pharmaceutical technology. PCN is doing everything possible to stop this training in order to sustain its monopoly, demanding Federal ministry of education to direct NBTE to stop accrediting the polytechnics while these course are offered in Ghana, Sudan and other countries. The meeting called at the instance of National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) on 25 May 2016 where the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), representative of the Honourable Minister of Health, Federal Ministry of Education, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and National Association of Pharmaceutical Technologists and Pharmacy Technicians of Nigeria were in attendance; certain issues bothering on the nomenclature Pharmaceutical Technologists, the curriculum and the accrediting body for polytechnic graduates of pharmaceutical Technology were raised. There it was made clear that the nomenclature (Pharmaceutical Technologist) is not new in Nigeria as the training of people bearing the name were trained at the former School of Pharmaceutical Technologists between 19811 and 1985. The premises of the school is being used as the liaison office of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) today. It was also established that National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) is saddled with the accreditation of courses offered by Polytechnics and Monotechnics in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. As for the curriculum, findings revealed that NBTE is in line with the legal instrument that established the Board. Meanwhile, it was unanimously agreed that all relevant bodies should come together to review the complaints of the PCN.

3.8. Tanzania

Tanzania has two Pharmaceutical Technician schools: one is a public sector institution under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and accredited by Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, and the other is affiliated with a faith-based organization located in Kilimanjaro which offers diploma training. The practice of pharmaceutical technicians is regulated by Tanzania Pharmacy Council, which enrols and enlists them. The country has 0.11 registered pharmacy technicians per 10,000 population.[19]

The main job duties of pharmaceutical technicians include dispensing, stock management, compounding, quantification of pharmaceutical formulations, and laboratory work. In some areas of the country facing acute shortage of physicians and other clinicians, pharmacy technicians have also been found prescribing.[19]

3.9. United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom , a pharmacy technician now must complete a recognised accredited training programme with vocational training to SVQ/NVQ level 3 in Pharmacy Services as well as an underpinning academic knowledge programme such as BTEC or National Certificate (NC) Pharmacy Services. A period of time of working as a trainee pharmacy technician is needed before final qualification and compulsory registration is required before commencing work as a pharmacy technician. The period of on-the-job training is usually done concurrently whilst completing the course and typically over a two-year period. Pharmacy technicians may counsel patients on their medication (under the supervision or direction of a pharmacist, though counselling is not one of the learning outcomes for pharmacy technician training)[20] as well as general dispensing of prescriptions. In community pharmacy, it has been recognised that the role is difficult to distinguish from that of a dispensing assistant with an NVQ2 qualification. Additional training is available to qualified pharmacy technicians and can include accuracy checking of dispensed prescriptions (though there is no legal requirement that a person be qualified as a pharmacy technician before undertaking an accuracy checking course), Medicines Management (Hospital or PCT), participation in the running of hospital clinics such as anticoagulant clinics, dosing warfarin patients under dose banding guidance, or other higher duties traditionally done by Pharmacists.

As at 2018, there were 32 regulated healthcare occupations in the UK. Three of those – pharmacy technicians, dental nurses and dental technicians – require a minimum of a level 3 qualification on entry (using the levels based on the frameworks operating in England, Wales and Northern Ireland). One has a minimum of level 4 on entry, seven have a minimum of level 5, sixteen have a minimum of level 6 (equivalent to a bachelor's degree) and five have a minimum of level 7 (equivalent to a master's degree). 31 out of the 32 have a level 6 qualification available for entry to the occupation, with the role of pharmacy technician being the only exception, only having a level 3 qualification available for entry.[21] Some individual pharmacy technicians may hold other qualifications higher than level 3 upon commencing training, or may gain such qualifications afterwards.

In the National Health Service (NHS) pharmacy technicians work under the direct supervision of a senior/specialist pharmacy technician and is accountable to the chief pharmacy technician/lead pharmacist even if not in a dispensary and work mainly in one of two areas, hospital pharmacy and community pharmacy.[22] Some also work in doctors' general practices and in primary care trusts.

In England, Scotland and Wales, since 1 July 2011, qualified pharmacy technicians have to be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (formerly the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain) to practise and call themselves a pharmacy technician. The title Pharmacy Technician is a protected title and requires the user to register with the General Pharmaceutical Council. A Pharmacy Dispenser cannot call themselves or work as a Pharmacy Technician or register with the General Pharmaceutical Council.

Pharmacy technicians in hospitals are graded on the same Agenda for Change banding as audiovisual technicians, dental nurses and theatre support workers.[23] They start on a set percentage of a Band 4 (usually 75% - an average annual wage of £20,698[24]) as a trainee moving on to Band 4 when newly qualified PhT and can work their way to a Band 8b in charge of a department/area. A Band 8b is the equivalent of a Nurse Lead/Senior Nurse Manager in nursing or other Head of Department in the NHS. Although Band 8b is possible, a successful pharmacy technician can reasonably expect to reach Band 7a in the latter stage of his/her career, earning an average of £35,898.

Registered Pharmacy Technicians in the NHS may be responsible for the training and development of Pharmacy Support Workers; Senior Pharmacy Support Workers and Pre-Registration Trainee Pharmacy Technicians. Further training and qualifications after initial registration enable them to perform this mentoring role. Pharmacy technicians in the UK (as with other countries e.g. Canada) are now referred to by some as professionals, although Registered Pharmacists are obviously considered experts in the Pharmaceutical field and pharmacy technicians are subordinate to Pharmacists. The reference to pharmacy technicians as professionals has been subject to robust challenge.[25][26]

A report was published by the Pharmacists' Defence Association in 2019 making proposals for the development of pharmacist and pharmacy technician roles and career frameworks symbiotically in community pharmacy. It also outlined various impediments and governance issues and called for these to be addressed.[26]

3.10. United States

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 75% of pharmacy technicians in the U.S. work in a retail setting,[2] such as an independently owned drugstore, a mass retailer chain, or a mail-order or online pharmacy. An additional 16% of pharmacy technician jobs were in hospitals,[2] while others worked for nursing homes, pharmaceutical wholesalers, or the Federal Government. To work in any of these settings, certain requirements must be met. Requirements vary by state.[27]

(As of 2016), the nationwide average hourly pay for pharmacy technicians working in retail or independent pharmacies is $12.26[28][29] and for pharmacy technicians working in hospital setting is $14.57.[30]


CPhT is the abbreviation for Certified Pharmacy Technician. The CPhT works directly under a pharmacist, R.Ph or a PharmD. (An R.Ph is a Registered Pharmacist, who is a licensed pharmacist in that state and may have either a bachelor's degree in pharmacy or a Pharm.D.) The role has different educational and certification requirements in different locales, set by each state's Board of Pharmacy. For example, in order to remain licensed, all Illinois pharmacy technicians hired on January 1, 2008 (and after) will need to be certified within two years of registration with the Division of Professional Regulation.[31]

After obtaining technical school education, an associate degree, or work training, the technician may take a certification exam. Exam preparation may also be provided by some employers. Examinations are offered by two certifying bodies. The first is the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), which is offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).[32] The second is the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technician (ExCPT) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).[33] Upon successful completion of the examination, the candidate is granted certification. The technician must then complete continuing education to maintain certification.[34]

There are many scopes of the workplace for the Certified Pharmacy Technician. In a retail setting, a CPhT works under the direct supervision of a pharmacist who dispenses prescription medication (tablets, capsules, gels, ointment, creams, suspensions, injections, and inhalation medications), and must be familiar with over-the-counter areas as well as third party insurance billing processes. In an inpatient setting, the CPhT works throughout the hospital, packing and dispensing medications in satellite pharmacies and to the various nursing units; compounding intravenous medication while using aseptic technique; narcotic medication dispensing and inventorial procedures; as well as documenting patients' weight, height, drug allergies and other needed information in medication records.

State of Arizona pharmacy technician requirements

To practice as a pharmacy technician in Arizona, one must acquire a license from the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy. There are two levels of licenses: the Trainee License and the Full License.

The Trainee License is required for our students to practice during their externships. To obtain a Trainee License, students apply at the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy with their U.S. birth certificate and high school diploma or GED.

In order to obtain a Full License, graduates must be certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. While going through this process, some graduates may work under a Trainee License.

In order to receive a Full License from the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy, one must first pass either the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) or the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT). The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) administers the PTCE exam and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) administers the ExCPT. When applying for a Certified License, you will be required to show proof of your PTCB or NHA certification.[35]

Both the Certified License and PTCB or NHA certification must be renewed every two years. This requires that the applicant successfully complete 20 hours of continuing education before renewing their certification and applying for a renewed license.

State of California pharmacy technician requirements

The California State Board of Pharmacy is managed by the California Department of Consumer Affairs. It was established in 1891 in order to regulate the practice of pharmacy and sale of poisons in the State of California. As of 2009, the Board consisted of seven pharmacists and six public members, for a total of thirteen members. All seven pharmacists and four public members were appointed by the governor of the state. The remaining two were appointed by the Assembly Speaker and Senate Rules Committee.[36]

The Board issues licenses/registration for pharmacists, intern pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians, as well as site permits for pharmacies or other establishments that dispense prescription drugs in the state. All registration, license, and permit renewals are handled by the Board as well as complaints and enforcement actions.

To be eligible to become licensed as a pharmacy technician in California, one must have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate AND qualify under any one of the following conditions:

  1. possession of associate degree in Pharmacy Technology OR Any other course that provides a minimum of 240 hours of instruction as specified in Title 16 California Code of Regulation section 1793.6(c) OR A training course accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) OR Graduation from a school of pharmacy accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE);
  2. certification by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or National Healthcareer Association (NHA);
  3. successful completion of a training program provided by a branch of the federal armed services.[37]

Around nine percent of the country's 334,400 pharmacy technicians reside in California and the state is home to the top ten highest paying metropolitan areas for technicians.[38]

State of South Carolina pharmacy technician requirements (state certified)

South Carolina requires a current Pharmacy Technician Registration, a high school diploma or GED, and completion of a formal academic training program accredited by ASHP (American Society of Health System Pharmacists). One must also pass a national certification exam administered by either the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) or the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), and complete 1,000 hours of practical experience under a South Carolina licensed pharmacist.

The average yearly salary for pharmacy technicians in South Carolina was $27,000 in 2015.[39]

3.11. Zimbabwe

Pharmacy technicians are trained at Harare Polytechnic. Students graduate with a diploma after three years of training. The program is run by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare of Zimbabwe. There is an intake of about 35 students each year.


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  19. Tanzania Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. Assessment of the Pharmaceutical Human Resources in Tanzania and Strategic Framework , Dar es Salaam, 2010. Accessed 13 July 2011.
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  31. Illinois Division of Professional Regulation — State Board of Pharmacy. "National Healthcare Association" , Illinois Pharmacy Technician Certification Requirements, accessed September 19, 2011.
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  35. "Arizona State Board of Pharmacy | Protects the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Arizona". 
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  38. "Pharmacy Technician Review". Pharmacy Technician Review. 
  39. "Pharmacy Technician Salary in South Carolina |". 
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