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Your Guide to Pharmacy Technician Career Advancement

A smiling female pharmacy technician, wearing a white coat and holding a coffee cup and smartphone, stands in a well-stocked pharmacy.

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Becoming a pharmacy technician is not just about finding a job—it’s stepping into a rewarding and ever-growing career. Pharmacy technicians play a crucial role in ensuring the smooth functioning of pharmacies, from dispensing medications to providing valuable assistance to pharmacists and patients alike.

If you’re considering becoming a pharmacy tech or have recently entered the field, you might be wondering how to set yourself up for long-term success and advancement. Maximizing your role as a CPhT and aiming for higher-paying positions in the future requires strategic planning and a proactive approach to skill development and specialization.

How Pharmacy Technicians Can Increase Chances of Promotion

Getting promoted as a pharmacy tech boils down to a few key factors: your education, years of experience, certifications, and your workplace’s policies. To boost your job outlook, focus on two main things: keep learning and specialize in areas that pay more. By constantly improving your skills and focusing on specific areas, you can open doors to better-paying roles and advance your career in the medical field.

But where should you start? Let’s break it down into steps:

  1. Obtain Certification: Becoming certified through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) can enhance a pharmacy technician’s credentials and open up opportunities for advancement. Certified pharmacy technicians may be eligible for higher-level positions or increased responsibilities within their current workplace.
  2. Pursue Continuing Education: Engaging in ongoing education and professional development can expand a pharmacy technician’s knowledge and skills, making them more valuable to employers. Completing additional job training courses, workshops, or certification programs in specialized areas of pharmacy practice, such as sterile compounding or medication therapy management, can increase promotion prospects.
  3. Gain Experience in Different Settings: Pharmacy technicians who have experience working in a variety of pharmacy settings, such as retail pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and specialty pharmacies, may be more attractive candidates for promotion. Exposure to diverse practice environments can broaden their skill set and demonstrate adaptability and versatility to employers.
  4. Demonstrate Leadership Skills: Pharmacy technicians can demonstrate leadership potential by taking on additional responsibilities, such as training new employees, supervising pharmacy support staff, or leading quality improvement initiatives. Showing initiative, reliability, and effective communication skills can position pharmacy technicians as potential candidates for promotion to leadership roles.
  5. Seek Mentorship and Guidance: Pharmacy technicians can benefit from mentorship and guidance from experienced pharmacists or senior pharmacy technicians who can provide career advice, professional support, and networking opportunities. Building positive relationships with mentors can help pharmacy technicians navigate their career paths and identify promotion opportunities.
  6. Stay Updated on Industry Trends: Keeping abreast of industry trends, advancements in pharmacy technology, and changes in pharmacy regulations and policies can demonstrate a pharmacy technician’s commitment to staying current in their field. Being knowledgeable about emerging practices and innovations in pharmacy practice can enhance their value to employers and position them for promotion.
  7. Participate in Professional Organizations: Active involvement in professional pharmacy organizations, such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), or state pharmacy associations, can provide networking opportunities, professional development resources, and access to career advancement resources.
  8. Express Interest in Advancement Opportunities: Pharmacy technicians should express their interest in advancement opportunities to their supervisors or managers and inquire about potential career paths within the organization. Proactively seeking feedback, setting goals, and demonstrating a willingness to take on new challenges can signal readiness for promotion to employers.

What is the Highest Paying Pharmacy Technician Job?

In the dynamic landscape of pharmacy technician careers, one question often looms large: What is the highest paying pharmacy technician job? While the answer may vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and specialization, several roles stand out for their potential to offer lucrative compensation and professional fulfillment.

Here are some of the highest-paying pharmacy technician jobs:

Hospital Pharmacy Technician: Pharmacy technicians working in hospital settings, particularly in specialized areas such as oncology or sterile compounding, may command higher salaries compared to those working in retail pharmacies. Hospital pharmacy technicians may also receive additional compensation for working evening, weekend, or overnight shifts.

Specialty Pharmacy Technician: Specialty pharmacies focus on providing perscription medications for complex or chronic conditions, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, or rare diseases. Pharmacy technicians working in specialty pharmacies may earn higher salaries due to the specialized nature of the medications and services they provide.

Compounding Pharmacy Technician: Compounding pharmacies prepare customized medications tailored to individual patient needs, often requiring specialized compounding techniques and equipment. Pharmacy technicians with training and experience in compounding may earn higher salaries for their specialized skills and expertise.

Long-Term Care Pharmacy Technician: Pharmacy technicians working in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes or assisted living facilities, may earn higher salaries compared to those working in retail settings. Long-term care pharmacy technicians may be responsible for managing medication orders, preparing medication packaging for multiple patients, and coordinating medication deliveries.

Pharmacy Technician Instructor or Trainer: Experienced pharmacy technicians may pursue opportunities to teach or train other aspiring pharmacy technicians in academic or vocational settings. Pharmacy technician instructors or trainers may earn higher salaries due to their educational qualifications, teaching experience, and specialized knowledge of pharmacy practice.

Research Pharmacy Technician: Pharmacy technicians working in research settings, such as pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, or clinical research organizations, may earn higher salaries for their involvement in drug development, clinical trials, or research projects. Research pharmacy technicians may be responsible for preparing investigational medications, collecting data, and assisting with research protocols.

Remote or Telepharmacy Technician: With the increasing use of telepharmacy and remote medication verification systems, pharmacy technicians who work remotely may have opportunities for higher salaries due to the flexibility and specialized skills required for remote pharmacy practice.

What are Some Advanced Jobs for Pharmacy Technicians?

If you have been a pharmacy technician for some time, you may be interested in moving into a different but related field where your skills and experience will serve you well. It is not uncommon for pharmacy techs to go back to school to advance their careers.

According to Indeed, here are the roles pharmacy technicians most often advance to, with additional training and experience:


Pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals responsible for dispensing medications, providing patient education on drug use and side effects, and ensuring the safe and effective use of medications. They work in various settings, including retail pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and pharmaceutical companies.

Tips for Success:

  • Education: Pursue advanced education by completing a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from an accredited pharmacy program.
  • Licensure: Obtain licensure by passing the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and fulfilling state-specific requirements.
  • Experience: Gain experience through internships, residencies, or fellowships to enhance clinical skills and knowledge.
  • Specialization: Consider specializing in areas such as ambulatory care, geriatrics, or oncology to expand career opportunities and increase earning potential.
  • Continuing Education: Stay updated on advances in pharmacy practice by participating in continuing education programs and pursuing board certification in specialized areas.

Medical Laboratory Technician

Medical laboratory technicians perform laboratory tests to assist physicians in diagnosing and treating diseases. They collect samples, analyze bodily fluids, and operate laboratory equipment to generate accurate test results.

Tips for Success:

  • Education: Obtain an associate degree in medical laboratory technology or a related field from an accredited program.
  • Certification: Consider obtaining certification as a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) through organizations such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP).
  • Hands-on Training: Seek opportunities for hands-on pharmacy technician training and clinical experience during your education program or through internships.
  • Attention to Detail: Develop strong attention to detail and accuracy in performing laboratory tests to ensure reliable results.
  • Communication Skills: Cultivate effective communication skills to interact with healthcare professionals and accurately convey test results.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Consider a career in dropdown#toggle” data-dropdown-menu-id-param=”menu_term_307292854″ data-dropdown-placement-param=”top” data-term-id=”307292854″>nuclear pharmacy. Nuclear medicine technologists administer radioactive drugs to patients for diagnostic imaging procedures. They operate imaging equipment, monitor patients during scans, and ensure radiation safety protocols are followed.

Tips for Success:

  • Education: Earn an associate or bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine technology from an accredited program.
  • Certification: Obtain certification as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist (NMT) through organizations such as the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
  • Clinical Experience: Gain hands-on clinical experience through internships or practicum placements in nuclear medicine departments.
  • Radiation Safety: Develop a thorough understanding of radiation safety principles and procedures to minimize risks to patients and staff.
  • Professional Development: Stay updated on advancements in nuclear medicine technology through continuing education and professional development opportunities.

Regulatory Affairs Specialist

Regulatory affairs specialists ensure compliance with regulations and guidelines governing the development, manufacturing, and marketing of pharmaceutical products. They liaise with regulatory agencies, prepare regulatory submissions, and monitor changes in regulations.

Tips for Success:

  • Education: Pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree in regulatory affairs or a related field.
  • Regulatory Knowledge: Develop a strong understanding of regulatory requirements and guidelines applicable to the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Attention to Detail: Pay close attention to detail when preparing regulatory submissions and documentation to ensure accuracy and compliance.
  • Communication Skills: Cultivate effective communication skills to interact with regulatory agencies, cross-functional teams, and external stakeholders.
  • Regulatory Training: Seek out training programs or certifications in regulatory affairs to enhance your knowledge and credentials in the field.

Rely on Continuing Education to Grow Your Career

As you navigate the many avenues for career growth as a pharmacy tech, one principle emerges: rely on continuing education to propel your journey forward. Whether you want to excel in hospital pharmacy settings, specialize in compounding techniques, or delve into the dynamic field of research pharmacy, the foundation of your success lies in continual learning and skill-building.

That’s where freeCE steps in as your trusted ally in career advancement. With a comprehensive array of skill-building courses and specialty certificates designed to enhance your expertise and proficiency, freeCE empowers you to stay ahead of the curve in an ever-evolving industry.

By offering resources to ensure compliance with regulatory standards and keep you in step with the latest developments in pharmacy practice, freeCE becomes your invaluable companion on the path to success.


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