The role of the pharmacy technician is very important to any pharmacy. Pharmacy technicians must have working knowledge of pharmacy operations, procedures, HIPAA regulations, and medications. Although there are many resources which offer training for pharmacy technicians, a person can become a pharmacy technician without any training.
States with No Requirements for Pharmacy Technicians
While each state is different, there are many that allow a person to simply begin working as a pharmacy technician with no prior training. Some states require that you register with the state if you work as a pharmacy technician. In Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania no registration is required. If you want to work as a pharmacy technician in one of these states, then all you have to do is apply and be hired. In this situation, the newly hired pharmacy technician may be trained by the pharmacist, the lead pharmacy technician, or through an in-house training program.
In these states small or privately owned pharmacies usually provide on-the-job training to newly hired pharmacy technicians. In many cases, the pharmacist trains the pharmacy technician. In other cases, training is done by the lead pharmacy technician. This type of training usually consists of observation of various duties which could range from a few hours to a few days. After the observation period, the new pharmacy technician will begin performing duties under the close supervision of the trainer. As the technician becomes more proficient at performing his or her duties, they will be allowed to work with less supervision. On-the-job training for a pharmacy technician with no prior training or experience usually comes with a large learning curve. The new technician can expect to be in training for six months or longer.
Larger retail pharmacies or mail order pharmacies often offer more formal training to newly hired pharmacy technicians. These training programs offer a combination of on-the-job training and class room learning. The goal of these training programs is often to give the pharmacy technician the skills needed to become a certified pharmacy technician.
States with Minimal Requirements
In Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Main, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, and West Virginia, pharmacy technicians are required to be registered with the state’s Board of Health, but no specific training or licensing is required. In these states, a person with no prior training or experience can apply for a job as a pharmacy technician. If the company wishes to hire them, then they will have to register with the state. This process usually requires paying an application fee of $25 – $150, submitting to a background check, providing proof of identity, and proof of high school or equivalent education. In most cases, the person can begin working after the registration documentation has been submitted, pending final approval. Training for pharmacy technicians in these states generally follows the same course as in states where registration is not required.
States That Require Training
Any state not mentioned above requires that a pharmacy technician be certified prior to employment in a pharmacy. In these states there is no standard training program, however, the prospective pharmacy technician must pass a standardized exam called the ExPCT. This test is very difficult to pass without preparation or experience working as a pharmacy technician.
A person in these states can become a pharmacy technician without attending school or participating in a formal training program. The requirement is that they must pass the ExCPT exam. There are many resources available to help an individual prepare for this exam without formal training. There are many websites which offer pharmacy technician educational resources. Some of these websites are free, while others charge a fee for access to this information. There are also preparatory books which are available online or in bookstores. These book sets usually consist of a text book, a lab book, a medical terminology dictionary, and flash cards. Going this route will require the person to be self-motivated to learn the information required for passing the ExCPT exam.
Landing Your First Job
For a person who wants to become a pharmacy technician without any training, getting their job will be the most challenging. You will need to convince the hiring manager that you are worthy of being trained as a pharmacy technician. These managers will be looking for employees with skills such as attention to detail, good communication skills, basic math skills, and willingness to learn. Training a new pharmacy technician with no prior experience is costly and time consuming. They will want to be assured that you are worth the investment. It is a good idea to list any of these skills on your resume, as well as highlight prior jobs in which these skills were used. They will also be more interested in hiring an employee who will work for the company long-term. Highlight any prior employment which lasted more than two years. During your interview it is a good idea to communicate the fact that you are looking for a long-term job.
Some questions that you may be asked during an interview for a pharmacy technician job:
- Why do you want to be a pharmacy technician?
- What days and times are you available for work?
- How would you react to an upset customer?
- What would you do if you can not read the instructions on a prescription?
- Do you have good organizational skills?
It is very possible to be hired as a pharmacy technician without any training in most states. However, it is impossible to actually work as a pharmacy technician without being trained. If it is your dream to become a pharmacy technician, then start by applying to private and retail pharmacies. You can enhance your chances of being hired by taking advantage of self-learning tools such as books or online sources. If you decide to get formal training, then you can be more assured of being hired as a pharmacy technician.