Experts Discuss Differences in Requirements to be a Pharmacy Technician Across the World

In a panel, pharmacy technicians across the world discuss the qualifications and training pharmacy technicians need to have in the United States, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.

Q: What are the requirements to be a pharmacy technician in your country?

João José Joaquim: Well, in Portugal, at the moment, we have a degree to graduation in pharmacy, it's 4 years. It's integrated in our university system, and to be a pharmacy technician, you need to complete this post-secondary graduation. After that, you need to register at the National Authority. It's a regulated profession in Portugal, pharmacy technician. When you finish the graduation, you need to apply for the professional car to work in Portugal.

Samantha Quaye: In Great Britain, we have registration as well across Great Britain and it's a 2-year course. To be a pre-registration trainee pharmacy technician, you undertake a vocational diploma level qualification, and to enter the training, generally, you have to have kind of ahigh school level, good level of English, math, and science qualifications. It's a career, not just a job, so you also need to have those professional attitudes and behaviors and a good record to be able to register with the regulator.

Tiffany Kofroth: It's come a long way since we started, and at least since I started, but we used to be able to study on our own and then take what's called a “national exam” for pharmacy technician training. The times have changed. So now we do have more of a structured program for our pharmacy technicians to go through, it's usually through some type of community college, or vocational college. They have set hours that they are to have in a retail setting, in a long term care setting, and then in a hospital setting. If I remember, right, it's close to 600+ hours, as far as clinical rotations. Then they also have the didactic components that go along with that.

Once they do complete that coursework, they do have to sit for a national exam, and once they pass the national exam, they do have to recertify every 2 years, and provide 20 hours of CE credits, or continuing education credits, per every 2 years to make sure that they're continuously learning, and then depending on which state they live in, they also are required to register with that that state.

For Texas, you have to register for Texas and also provide 20 additional hours of continuing education per every 2 years cycle to actually perform the duties of a certified pharmacy technician. Now, there are also other roles into that and I think maybe later in the in the presentation, maybe we'll talk about those, but there are other levels other than a pharmacy technician here.