How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in FL
Due to the Sunshine State’s dense population, healthcare and medical service providers in Florida are often in high demand.
Pharmacy techs, in particular, are needed to assist pharmacists and fill customer service roles in grocery store pharmacies and privately-owned drug stores throughout the state.
Education & Schooling
Training and Registration Requirements
Step one of becoming a pharmacy technician in FL is to complete a Florida State Board of Pharmacy-approved training program. Vocational and trade schools across the state offer the necessary classes for those pursuing this career path.
Some of these classes include:
- Pharmaceutical and Medical Terminology
- Basic Mathematics and Chemistry
- Medical Labeling
- Pharmacy Law and Ethics
Many training programs also have a clinical practicum component, which involves working under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. During this portion of your training, you’ll apply the knowledge you gained during your classes to real-world situations and develop the communication and customer service skills you need for pharmacy technician jobs in Florida.
How Long is Pharmacy Tech Training in FL?
According to state regulations, registered Florida pharmacy technician programs must be one year or less in length. Students may earn their certificates in as little as six months, depending on where they attend classes. You can find two-year degree programs if you plan to become a licensed pharmacist one day. However, most training courses for pharmacy technicians in FL are about nine months long.
Pharmacy Technician Training Costs
Your pharmacy tech training costs depend on which school and program you choose. For example, an 18-month certificate or diploma program at Southeastern College might cost about $4,000 in tuition, study materials and fees. Meanwhile, longer associate’s degree programs can cost as much as $10,148 per semester.
Florida Pharmacy Technician Requirements
After completing your training program, the next step is to register with the Florida State Board of Pharmacy. To do this, you’ll need to create an online account with the Florida Department of health, fill out an application, and submit the following:
- Proof of identity certifying that you are at least 17 years of age
- A certificate of completion for your training program
- Payment of the required application, licensure, and unlicensed activity fees, totaling $105
After a 30-day processing period, you should receive confirmation of your accepted application. It typically takes another two weeks to receive your Registered Pharmacy Technician License in the mail.
While obtaining a certified pharmacy technician (CPhT) is optional, it can help you qualify for specialized, higher-paying pharmacy technician jobs in Florida. Organizations like the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) offer certification exams for pharmacy technicians in FL who want this extra credential.
Florida’s Board of Pharmacy also requires registered pharmacy technicians in FL to complete 20 contact hours of continuing education (CE) in order to renew their licenses.
CE courses include two hours of Medication Errors instruction, one hour of HIV/AIDS prevention education, and 18 hours of general study. Students must complete four of the 20 hours live via one of the following methods:
- In-person classes through an Accreditation Council on Pharmacy Education (ACPE) or state board-approved instructor
- Live video conferences
- An interactive computer-based application
Pharmacy tech licenses in FL are valid for two years. You’ll need to complete your CE courses and pay the $55 renewal fee before your renewal date in order to keep your registration active.
What Do They Do?
Pharmacy technician jobs in Florida involve assisting the pharmacist with various tasks and performing customer service duties on the sales floor. Whether you work in an independently-owned-and-operated drug store or a larger pharmacy chain, your work as a tech will usually involve completing the following tasks:
- Receiving and verifying written and electronic prescription requests from patients and physicians
- Filling prescriptions by retrieving, counting, pouring, weighing, or measuring medications
- Placing medications in proper containers and affixing printed labels to them
- Checking each prescription for accuracy
- Pricing and filing prescriptions for the pharmacist to review before delivering to patients
- Update patient files as needed
- Process payments and verify insurance information during prescription pickup
- Recommend over-the-counter medications to customers on the sales floor
- Unload inventory trucks and organize the pharmacy’s stock room
- Set up displays and perform basic cleaning and maintenance tasks around the pharmacy
Personal Skills Needed
Physical stamina is important as the work requires standing for long periods, along with the ability to sometimes lift heavy boxes of medication and using stepladders to retrieve supplies from higher shelves.
It is also important that someone in this position exhibit excellent customer service skills. You will be spending a lot of time interacting with customers, so being helpful and polite are required.
Attention to detail is another important characteristic for a pharmacy technician to have. This will help to avoid any errors in filling prescriptions which can lead to complications and serious health issues for customers taking the medications filled by pharmacy technicians.
Physical Requirements Needed
Pharmacy technician jobs in Florida often require employees to stand for long periods, lift heavy medication boxes, and climb stepladders to reach products on high shelves.
As such, most employers prefer to hire candidates who have physical stamina and can lift at least 25 pounds. Attention to detail and speed are also a must, especially if you plan to work in hospitals and urgent care facilities.
There is also opportunity for pharmacy technicians to specialize in one area such as chemotherapy or nuclear medicine.
Those with strong performance records in larger-size companies may be promoted to supervisory roles such as Senior Pharmacy Technician, although they will still be under the direct supervision of pharmacists.
Another avenue of career growth is for pharmacy technicians to continue their education to become a pharmacist (typically through a five year undergraduate program).
As noted, pharmacy technicians work in a variety of settings. They often have scattered schedules with evenings, weekend and holiday work often required, especially within health care settings, such as hospitals, that are open 24 hours.
Salary for Pharmacy Technicians
For entry-level employees, the average pharmacy technician salary in Florida is about $32,580. However, depending on which part of the state you live in, your earnings may differ slightly.
Check out the list below to discover regional salary information for pharmacy techs in FL:
- Orlando $31,810
- Jacksonville $32,731
- Miami $33,589
- Tallahassee $29,760
- Tampa $32,280
Those with CPhT credentials may be able to negotiate higher salaries than other pharmacy technicians in FL. Over time, you may become eligible for performance-based raises and bonuses that boost your annual earnings even further.
Reports from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate a five-percent growth rate in the demand for pharmacy techs over the next ten years. This projected increase suggests that as many as 43,500 pharmacy technician job opportunities are likely to become available each year between 2021 and 2031.
As employers remain on the lookout for qualified workers, having an official CPhT credential might make it easier to obtain well-paying pharmacy technician jobs in Florida.
For more information including links to pharmacy technician job opportunities, certification programs, education, events, and research check the following websites;
The American Association of Pharmacy Technicians (NPTA), The National Pharmacy Technician Association, and Pharmacy Choice.