Pharmacy technician shortage driving force behind new, online prep course

Jennifer Fix 2 PurpleA self-paced, online Pharmacy Technician Preparation Course is now being offered through The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth as a way to help combat the shortage of pharmacy technicians at hospitals, health systems and retail pharmacies.

Recognized by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board, the online course takes six to 12 weeks to complete and is designed to prepare individuals for certification, registration, licensing and employment as a pharmacy technician or pharmacy technician trainee. Admission to HSC is not required.

“Pharmacy technicians provide vital support to pharmacists,” said Jennifer Fix, PharmD, MBA, BCACP, BCGP, associate professor for HSC’s College of Pharmacy. “They run the operations of the pharmacy and are the workers behind all the action, from prescription drop-off to pick up. We know that pharmacists are often the only health care professional a person speaks to, so keeping them accessible is critical to having a healthy community.”

For 25 years, Fix owned a pharmacy where she learned firsthand how important technicians are to ensuring smooth operations and good customer service. During that time, certification became a requirement, and she began training technicians to help them prepare for the national exam and building a career.

Fix partnered with HSC’s Division of Academic Innovation to develop the comprehensive course. In addition to the course’s six modules, students meet virtually with Fix for a weekly discussion. Throughout the course, students engage in career readiness and have access to one-on-one guidance on resume building, interviewing, networking and connecting with employers about open pharmacy technician positions.

“For HSC, this course is a way to support the profession, pharmacists and our graduates by getting individuals into the workforce as soon as possible,” said Annesha White, PharmD, MS, PhD, interim dean and associate professor, HSC College of Pharmacy. “The pharmacy technician role is an excellent way to enter into health care and can open doors to career growth or to becoming a pharmacist, nurse, physician or other medical professional.”

In 2022, there were 459,600 pharmacy technicians in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of May 2023, there were 38,960 in Texas. By 2032, employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to grow 6%, faster than the average for all occupations, with many of those openings expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or retire.

To sit for the national certification exam and work as a certified pharmacy technician, individuals must be 18 or older and have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Learn more about HSC’s Pharmacy Technician Preparation Course and register here. HSC also offers a Doctor of Pharmacy degree program along with many other health science degrees.

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