From Pharmacy Technician to Pharmacist

Take your pharmacy career to the next level.

Pursue a Doctor of Pharmacy at HSC. 


Image of professors putting white coats on students

More than half of HSC College of Pharmacy students have experience as a pharmacy technician.

Image of Jared Mitchell wearing a white coatJared Mitchell, Class of 2025

“Opportunities do not just happen, you create them. If you can stay disciplined, focused, determined, motivated, and remember why you started, no doubt in my mind you will be successful in pursuit of a PharmD.”

How did the skills you learned as a pharmacy technician translate to pharmacy school?
I was a pharmacy technician at retail pharmacy for a year and a half prior to attending pharmacy school. I would highly recommend those who are interested in applying for pharmacy school to get as much exposure in a pharmacy setting as you can. The knowledge, skills, and experience that I learned while working translate to being in pharmacy school. Brand/generic names of medications, drug classes, mechanism of action, and patient encounters were all useful tools that have helped me. Nothing will prepare you more toward becoming a pharmacist than hands-on experience and applying your skillsets.

What do you enjoy most about the HSC PharmD program?
What I enjoy most about the PharmD program at UNTHSC is the number of opportunities that are available for the students to help them toward their goals. There are job postings that are available weekly, mentorships, networking, staff and faculty, and organizations that are at the student’s disposal to utilize to be successful. Being at UNTHSC has helped me grow as a student pharmacist, but also as a young man.


Image of Noreen Ohye wearing a white coatNoreen Ohye, Class of 2023

“The biggest difference between technician and intern trainee are the responsibilities. Getting the opportunity to listen to voicemails, do transfers and counsel patients was a big step up from technician duties.”

How did the skills you learned as a pharmacy technician translate to pharmacy school? I have been a pharmacy technician since 2014, working originally for a retail pharmacy and briefly at a long-term care pharmacy. Working as a pharmacy technician introduced me to all the various medications and the counseling that goes along with them. I found that I was able to relate even my hospital rotations with my retail experience.

What do you enjoy most about the HSC PharmD program?
I absolutely adore the professors at the College of Pharmacy. I can go on for ages about how amazing everyone is and how they care for their students. Professors will literally give out their cell phone numbers and encourage students to text/call if they have questions. One professor called each and every one of us during the ice storm to ensure that we were doing well and to see if we needed anything. They genuinely care for you as a person and not just another student.


Professional HeadshotAngelica Okinda, Class of 2025

“I have really enjoyed the time spent working in different pharmacies, and it has truly encouraged me to continue my course toward becoming a pharmacist.” 

How did the skills you learned as a pharmacy technician translate to pharmacy school?
I’ve worked in the pharmacy setting for almost five years now. I would say it gave me a lot of practice in brand/generic drug names and the indications of those drugs. Of course, there is still more to build on from school (mechanism of action and side effects), but I think being a pharmacy technician gave me a good baseline. Currently, we’re working on sterile compounding in our skills lab course. I’ve been doing sterile compounding for over a year at work, so it’s been great to build on and improve my training.

What is your No. 1 tip for pharmacy technicians interested in becoming pharmacists? Keep building on what you’ve learned and don’t lose what you know. Pharmacists and technicians work closely together to administer medications. Although a pharmacist requires more schooling and training, all of the basic tasks and skills are still relevant and may require you to have a more in-depth understanding once you become an intern.



Image of Rebecca Nelson in a white coat

Rebecca Nelson, Class of 2023

“Working in a pharmacy helps me apply my coursework to the real world.”

How did the skills you learned as a pharmacy technician translate to pharmacy school?
I’ve been a technician since 2017. I currently work in hospice/long-term care pharmacy, but I have also worked in a dermatology mail order pharmacy. Working as a technician has given me a great foundational experience viewing how the pharmacy functions before I set foot on any rotations. My tech experience has let me see a variety of different working styles, helping me to figure out who I want to be when I graduate and am working as a pharmacist.

What do you enjoy most about the HSC PharmD program?
My favorite aspect about HSC’s PharmD program is that we’re collaborative, not competitive.  We work together as a team to complete projects, study for exams, and help each other apply for regional (and national) student pharmacist leadership positions and scholarships.