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News & Info

Pharmacy Technician Shortage: Filling the Gap One Student at a Time

It’s an all-too-common statistic.

Like so many other health-related professions, pharmacy technicians are in short supply. A 2021 employment survey conducted by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)1 discovered vacancy rates topping 30% in 2021, with 1 in 10 hospitals surveyed reporting shortages of 40% or more. This is a scary thought considering the impact pharmacy technicians have – not just in the direct care of sick patients in hospital settings – but on every American’s ability to access the medications they need.

Each year, Georgetown’s Health Policy Institute 2 reports 131-million Americans to use prescription drugs – totaling $335 billion3 in sales. Ensuring the safe and efficient production and distribution of prescription and non-prescription medication falls in the hands of pharmacists and the technicians who work alongside them.

 

Pharmacy technicians play a key role in the operation of a pharmacy

A pharmacy technician works in unison with patients, doctors, and pharmacists to deliver effective, lifesaving care by administering medications. The day-to-day function of a pharmacy technician includes organizing, compounding, preparing, packaging, labeling, and dispensing prescription medications. In addition, technicians also interact with patients by filling new and refill prescription orders, verifying patient insurance, collecting payment information, and providing patients with key facts about their medications – as well as answering any patient’s questions.

Pharmacy technicians work anywhere pharmacies are, including grocery stores, drug stores, out-patient care facilities and hospitals. Technicians also work in larger pharmaceutical labs that produce and distribute medications to local pharmacies and hospitals. These technicians have the same core job functions – but often experience less patient interaction in a clinical setting.

 

Becoming a pharmacy technician does not require an advanced degree.

Despite its heavy math and science focus – becoming a pharmacy technician does not require an advanced degree. Instead, pharmacy technicians can receive a board certification through the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam4. Passing this nationally recognized exam certifies a student as a technician – allowing them to practice anywhere within the United States*.

While it is possible to pass the board after taking the pharmacy technician exam prep course, most technicians receive a combination of traditional classroom courses mixed with on-site training inside a pharmacy under the supervision of a pharmacist. Here, students learn the technical components of the job while experiencing first-hand what their work will entail on a day-to-day basis. After completing a certification program, students are better equipped to pass the certification exam.

 

The University of Providence’s Pharmacy Tech program takes only six months to complete compared to the average of 12 to 16 months5, according to the Pharmacy Technician Career Guide.

Most pharmacy technician courses take a minimum of one year to complete and can extend up to two years. Our six-month program combines a fast-paced, online learning curriculum with on-site internship experience. Students will work in a real pharmacy setting where they learn industry-leading skills while working alongside already certified technicians and our faculty of pharmacists.
With a 95% certification board pass rate and job placement rate – our students lead the way in filling the pharmacy technician shortage – one student at a time.

Ready to start filling the Pharmacy Technician gap?

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  1. Hospitals and Health Systems Experiencing Severe Shortage of Pharmacy Technicians – ASHP
  2. Prescription Drugs | Health Policy Institute | Georgetown University
  3. Prescription Drugs: Spending, Use, and Prices | Congressional Budget Office (cbo.gov)
  4. Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) – Credentials – PTCB
  5. Pharmacy Technician Requirements and Training Programs – V-Tecs.org

 

*Students in Washington must obtain a Pharmacy Assistant License with the Pharmacy Tech in Training form attached to the application. Students in Montana must obtain a tech in training license before entering the clinical internship. Make sure to check your state’s certification requirements before enrolling in any program.

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