Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists in preparing medications for patients. The demand for pharmacy technicians in Georgia will increase by more than 36 percent from 2006 through 2016, according to the Georgia Labor Market Explorer. As of January 2011, the state does not require technicians to gain any type of professional licensing, registration or certification to work in the field. Requirements for pharmacy technicians in Georgia are generally the same as those for technicians nationwide.
Types of Education
Educational requirements for pharmacy technicians vary among Georgia employers, as they do throughout the United States. Generally, a high school diploma or GED is necessary to work in the field. Approximately 16 percent of pharmacy technicians nationwide have only a diploma or the equivalent, according to the Occupational Information Network. The majority, around 77 percent, have completed a post-secondary program that culminated in a credential other than a degree, such as a professional diploma or certificate. A small number of pharmacy technicians have two-year associate degrees.
Georgia Educational Programs
As of January 2011, Georgia was home to 30 schools that offered at least one pharmacy technician education program. Among these schools were 21 public, two-year community or technical colleges, such as Savannah Technical College and Macon State College. The remaining programs were found at private, nonsectarian vocational colleges and medical training schools, like the Atlanta Medical Institute. These schools featured one- to two-year certificate or diploma programs, diploma and certificate programs that lasted less than one year,and associate degrees in pharmacy technology.
Pharmacy technicians may choose to pursue voluntary certification in the field to earn higher rates of pay or increase employment opportunities. Some employers will only hire technicians who have certification. In Georgia, the only pharmacy certification body recognized by the Georgia Board of Pharmacy is the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. To qualify for certification, technicians must pass a computer-based examination. Pharmacy technicians can take this exam using a computer at a Pearson Vue Testing Center. The certification exam consists of 90 multiple-choice questions and lasts up to two hours.
Pharmacy technicians throughout the United States must possess certain skills and abilities to be successful in their positions. To calculate doses and determine how much of a drug a patient should receive based on a prescription, basic arithmetic skills are necessary. Technicians must also have the ability to accurately weigh and measure. Attentiveness to detail is necessary to avoid errors when filling prescriptions. At retail pharmacies, technicians often wait on customers, which requires interpersonal skills. The ability to operate a cash register and accurately make change is necessary in retail environments.