Skip to content

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians are allied health professionals and essential members of the patient care team.

Learn more Career pathways FAQs

What does a pharmacy technician do?

Pharmacy technicians have many roles and varying levels of responsibility and complexity. As demand for pharmacy services increases, they are expected to take on a greater role in pharmacy operations and are an integral part of the patient’s care team, which includes the pharmacy team, physicians, and nursing. A pharmacy technician works under the supervision of a pharmacist to help prepare medications.

Pharmacy technicians may work in one of two pathways as they begin their careers. Outpatient or retail pathways may include the preparation of medication in a patient-facing or mail-order type setting and inpatient pathways may include care for patients in the hospital, needing long-term or specialty care.

Education: Generally, a high school diploma or equivalent is required by the school providing the training. Pharmacy technicians can enroll in and attend a 9-month to 1-year training program which includes formal instruction and obtaining hands-on experience (externship) during the program. 

Career advancement: Within pharmacy, you can take any career path you choose. A pharmacy technician is more than just a single career as this can help you advance into other pathways. A pharmacy technician position can be used as a stepping stone into many other opportunities within pharmacy. Future career pathways include trainers, project management, supervisor, pharmacists, nurses, doctors, and leadership roles. 

Pharmacy technicians register with the State Board of Pharmacy to obtain their pharmacy technician license. Pharmacy technicians can also obtain national certification through PTCB (Pharmacy Technician Certification Board). Licensed pharmacy technicians can gain advanced training through professional organizations, like the National Pharmacy Technician Association (NPTA). Other professional organizations offer technical support as well as professional growth.

Outlook: Nationally, the employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to grow 5% percent from 2021 to 2031[1]. In California, medical assisting jobs are expected to grow 13.3% between 2018-2028 (an increase of 5,000 jobs). Nationally, the median annual wage for medical assistants was $36.740 in May 20211 and in California, the median annual wage in 2021 was $48,443.[2]. For more information about educational institutions, please visit our Resources page.

Back To Top