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Home > Blog > June 2016 > Pharmacy Technician Educational Requirements Changing in 2020

Pharmacy Technician Educational Requirements Changing in 2020

Posted: June 23, 2016 by Elizabeth Baker

The requirements to become a pharmacy technician are about to change, but at Pima Medical Institute, our instructors and curriculum are already meeting the demands.
Currently, pharmacy technicians are not required to complete an accredited educational program to get a job in the field. They can simply receive training through an employer, become licensed and begin work.
“They’re not gaining much practical knowledge that way,” said Pima Medical Institute Lead Pharmacy Technician Instructor, Darrell Connor. “Often they’re told to just YouTube a lesson, and they receive very little support. They’re not knowledgeable on medications, dosage calculations—all the important things we do.”
In order to increase pharmacy technicians’ knowledge base uniformly across the country, the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) announced it will require by the year 2020 that everyone entering the career complete a program accredited by the American Society of HealthSystem Pharmacists (ASHP) and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). Pima Medical Institute is a school that offers such a program.
Because pharmacy technicians are critical to providing correct medications and dosages to patients, it’s imperative that they be thoroughly trained through an accredited program.
The new requirement will only apply to those who are entering the field—it does not affect those who are already trained, certified and working, or those seeking recertification.
Through an approximately 10-month program, pharmacy technician students at Pima Medical Institute receive a thorough, comprehensive education that will prepare them for the career. They will be fully trained on skills such as compounding, dosages, proper handling, refilling procedures, verifying prescription accuracy, and much more. The program also integrates with other fields, such as medical assisting, veterinary technology and respiratory therapy, where pharmacy technicians are often needed to contribute accurate medication knowledge.

Pharmacy technician instructor Darrell Connor teaches students about compounding. Pharmacy technician instructor Darrell Connor, from Pima Medical Institute's Tucson campus, teaches students how to make compound medications in the hands-on lab.

Once Pima Medical pharmacy technician students graduate and become nationally certified, they can chose to work in a number of settings. Some of the most in-demand pharmacy technician careers include:
  • Retail pharmacy: Pharmacy technicians directly serve the public in locations such as grocery store pharmacies.
  • Hospital pharmacy: Working in a hospital pharmacy requires technicians fill prescriptions ordered by doctors for patients staying in the hospital who need round-the-clock care.
  • Closed-door pharmacy: Pharmacy technicians prepare medication for long-term and hospice care facilities, prisons, mail-order or online medication companies and nuclear pharmacies, where radioactive medications are prepared.
  • Compound pharmacy: Pharmacy technicians prepare medications that are handmade and not readily available in a typical retail setting. The career requires more hands-on skills, science and mathematics.
  • Pharmacy benefits manager: In this role, a pharmacy technician oversees the processing and paying of prescription drug claims for a third-party administrator in an office setting.
After completing Pima Medical’s Pharmacy Technician certificate program, students must study for and pass the national certification exam and be certified by a state board. Every two years, pharmacy technicians must become nationally recertified by completing 20 hours of continuing education.

To learn more about Pima Medical’s Pharmacy Technician program, visit The program is offered at several Pima Medical campuses across the western United States. To learn more about the PTCB’s certification changes, visit

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