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Prospective Technicians

A pharmacy technician works closely with pharmacists in hospitals, community pharmacies, and other medical settings to help prepare and distribute medicines to patients, and assist the pharmacist to conduct professional pharmacy services.

In many pharmacies, technicians:
  • Screen prescription orders for accuracy and completeness
  • Prepare prescriptions - retrieve, count, pour, weigh, measure, and sometimes mix the medication
  • Perform calculations
  • Perform medication reconciliation
  • Assist in the management of pharmacy inventory
  • Assist in clinical pharmacy services, such as MTM or immunizations and
  • Use technology to help maintain accurate patient records, prepare and package medications, and place orders

Why Become a Pharmacy Technician:

Good job opportunities are expected for full-time and part-time work, especially for technicians with formal training or previous experience. Job openings for pharmacy technicians will result from the expansion of community pharmacies and other employment settings, and from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Health services are one of the largest industries in the country, with more than 11 million jobs, including the self-employed. Nine out of 20 occupations projected to grow the fastest are concentrated in health services. Most jobs require less than 4 years of college education.

What Does it Take to be a Pharmacy Technician?

It is important to have a professional attitude when communicating with patients in any pharmacy setting. The technician also has a responsibility to keep a patient’s medical and medication record confidential. In addition, it is recommended that pharmacy technicians have the following characteristics:
  • Ability to work well in teams
  • Ability to type
  • Self-confidence
  • Previous customer service experience
  • A basic understanding of medical terminology and calculations or a willingness and ability to develop that understanding and knowledge
  • Attention to detail
  • Outgoing
  • Hard working
  • Quick learner
  • Sincerity and concern for others
  • Tact
  • Friendliness

Career Opportunities:

Pharmacy technicians are currently in very high demand and this demand is expected to grow. As pharmacies expand patient care services, the role of and need for pharmacy technicians will also expand. With the appropriate amount of training and experience, pharmacy technicians may be promoted to supervisory roles, may seek specialization (e.g. oncology, nuclear pharmacy), or may pursue further education and training to become a pharmacist. Some technicians gain specialized skills in tech-check-tech programs, sterile products admixture, pharmacy automation, and health information systems.

Next Steps:

In Iowa, Pharmacy technicians are required to submit the appropriate application for registration to the Board of Pharmacy within 30 days of accepting employment in an Iowa pharmacy as a pharmacy technician. All pharmacy technicians are required to be certified within one year of registering to the Board. The Board of Pharmacy recognizes two certification exams to fulfill the Board’s requirements.

A growing number of pharmacy technicians are completing formal training programs at various community colleges across the state of Iowa. These programs provide pharmacy technicians are specialized education to gain more responsibility in pharmacy practice settings. Current pharmacy technician education program are available at:

Other Resources: