Pharmacy Technician Industry Opportunities


As our population ages and baby boomers enter retirement in droves, the demand for healthcare professionals is increasing exponentially. That means there is a demand for pharmacy technicians to dispense their medications—especially in Chicago, a hub of medical care. Pharmacy technician jobs opportunities can be found in many workplaces—including some you may not have thought about.

Retail or chain pharmacies

Most pharmacy technician jobs—about 70 percent—are found in retail or chain pharmacies, such as CVS, Walgreen’s, Rite Aid and Walmart. These jobs offer flexible hours and workdays. The majority of a pharmacy tech’s day will be spent processing and dispensing prescriptions, but other tasks may include managing inventory or handling patient and order information.


About 17 percent of pharmacy technicians—usually certified technicians—work in hospitals. Although they spend the bulk of their time preparing prescriptions as they would in retail pharmacies, in hospitals they prepare single doses of medication. They may also fill syringes or prepare IV solutions for short- and long-term or ER patients.

Managed care facilities

Nursing homes and assisted living and mental health facilities all require pharmacy technicians to prepare and dispense medications for patients. Duties are similar to those in hospitals because medications are prepared as single doses. However, this can be a very routine job, as patients often need their meds two or three times a day.

Compounding pharmacies

A pharma career could lead to work in a compounding pharmacy, where certified technicians prepare compound (custom) prescriptions. Some of these smaller, independently owned pharmacies require their pharmacy technicians to have specific certification—and excellent math skills—to do their job. Because there are few of these pharmacies in a region, they usually pay very well.

Mail-order pharmacies

Pharmacy techs who work in high-volume mail-order pharmacies should be tech savvy because common meds (heart and cholesterol, blood thinners, painkillers) are dispensed by machines. The technician needs to learn the software to fill the machine, fix jam and reload label paper. He or she usually works on a computer to input prescriptions and process refills received via fax, phone or mail.

Nuclear pharmacies

Jobs for pharmacy technicians in nuclear pharmacies must be trained to handle and prepare radioactive medication. They need to perform mathematical calculations when compounding medications to ensure safety. They also label medications and manage inventory. Since this is such a specialized field, fewer than one percent of pharm tech jobs are in nuclear pharmacies.

Pharmaceutical industry

The pharma industry is another good job category to add to a résumé. The companies that develop, produce and market drugs need pharmacy technicians to help with various tasks. These duties could include triage, coordinating drug information requests, assisting with literature searches, writing drug information documents or helping with other quality assurance-related matters.

Government agencies

Many government agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Veterans Administration, Indian Health Services and the Armed Forces need the help of pharmacy technicians. They might manage drug inventory and pharmaceutical supplies, replenish medications in dispensing systems, or compound and dispense medications.

How to become

According to O*NET OnLine, the projected job growth for pharmacy technicians between 2018-2028 is faster than average for other jobs (7-10 percent). Coyne College Chicago offers pharmacy technician training. Enroll in the 42-week Coyne College pharmacy tech program to prepare for a rewarding career. You’ll learn how to enter and order meds, keep records, mix IV solutions and compound products, and fulfill prescription orders. In addition to traditional classroom instruction by industry-professional faculty members, you’ll participate in a hands-on externship that will give you real-world experience.

Contact Coyne College to train for an in-demand career as a pharmacy technician.

The Differences Between Pharmacy Technicians and Pharmacists


Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are both skilled professions that ensure pharmacies run how they are supposed to and patients receive their proper prescriptions. Each role has its own unique set of qualifications and responsibilities, but what separates a pharmacy technician from a pharmacist? In this post, we will take a deeper look at the differences between a pharmacy technician and a pharmacist.

Duties and responsibilities

Pharmacists are tasked with duties such as filling prescriptions, administering vaccines, instructing patients on how and when to take their medication, and ensuring a patient’s medications won’t clash with each other. Pharmacists are the last line of defense for patients when it comes to potentially harmful drug interactions. They also oversee the work of pharmacy technicians. 

Some of the essential duties of pharmacy technicians include packaging and labeling prescriptions, organizing inventory, talking with customers and taking payments. Depending on the employer, the duties of a pharmacy technician may include additional responsibilities.

Vital parts of pharmacy

Pharmacists are well trained in biology, chemistry, physics and other sciences. This knowledge comes into play when ensuring it’s safe for patients to take a certain medication. 

Pharmacy technicians work hand in hand with pharmacists and are the ones who handle most of the prescriptions. It takes a team effort to keep a pharmacy running. 

Recently, pharmacists have been performing more patient care tasks, such as administering flu shots and providing other patient care services. Because of this, the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that pharmacy technicians could be in bigger roles, picking up additional responsibilities pharmacists may no longer be able to cover alone. 

For this reason, it is clear that pharmacy technicians are key cogs as far as the vitals of pharmacy are concerned. 



On one hand, pharmacists must complete rigorous schooling to get their Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD.) degree, which typically requires four years of study following two to four years of undergraduate study. Additional work, such as a residency program, may be required, depending on the role the pharmacist is seeking. 

Pharmacy technicians, on the other hand, typically need a high school diploma, though it helps to enroll in a trade school or community college program before entering the field. Many states also require pharmacy technicians to pass a certification exam through an accrediting body such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).


It takes less time for pharmacy technicians to enter the field compared to pharmacists. While pharmacists are required to attend schooling for multiple years, pharmacy technicians can confidently take a certification exam in as little as 42 weeks after starting a program.  

Are you looking to start an exciting career in the healthcare field? If so, becoming a pharmacy technician might be the right choice for you and there’s no better place to get started than at Coyne College.

Become a pharmacy technician at Coyne

Coyne’s pharmacy technician program will help prepare you for a career as a pharmacy technician as you learn the inner workings of the occupation from our experienced instructors. They can provide real-world insight that can help prepare you for the field beyond what is written in a textbook. After all, Coyne College has more than 120 years of experience preparing students in Chicago (like you!) for meaningful careers in a variety of trades. 

At the end of the program, which can be as soon as 42 weeks, you will be ready to take and pass your certification exam and start work in a number of pharmaceutical settings.

Financial aid is also available to those who qualify. Coyne also provides career services and job placement assistance to all its students.

Put your passion for helping people to use today by enrolling in Coyne College’s pharmacy technician program. To enroll or request more information, visit or call (800) 720-3990. 

Pharmacy Technician FAQ

FAQs about Pharmacy Tech program

If you are looking for a career in the healthcare or pharma industry, one path you may not have considered is becoming a pharmacy technician. Pharmacy technicians are valuable team members of pharmacies across the country. What is a pharmacy technician, and what do they do? We’re glad you asked because below we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about the pharmacy technician occupation.

do pharmacy techs do?

Pharmacy technicians play a vital role in the
day-to-day operations of a pharmacy. They assist pharmacists in running a
pharmacy by doing things like organizing and maintaining inventory, packaging
and labeling prescriptions, answering phones and other acts of customer service.
They are often the last point of contact patients have when picking up their
prescription drugs. Without pharmacy technicians, pharmacies could not operate
as well as they currently do.

FAQs about Pharmacy Technician Programs

should you choose a career as a pharmacy technician?

There are many reasons you should become a pharmacy technician. For one, it is an occupation in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to increase by 12 percent through 2026. Not only that, you can finish most training programs, which we’ll get to later, in less than a year. Above all, you will be making sure patients get the prescriptions they need to return to full health.  

do you become a pharmacy tech?

Diploma programs can typically be completed in a year or less. You may be required to pass a certification exam, depending on the state in which you work. A training program offers a foundation on which to build your career.

you need a degree to be a pharmacy tech?

Pharmacy technicians typically complete
diploma programs at local community colleges or trade schools. Enrolling in a
pharmacy technician program is a good idea because you can learn the skills you
will use in the field and feel confident performing the necessary tasks in your
first job. It will also make it easier to pass a licensure exam if one is
required by your state.

much does it cost to become a pharmacy tech?

The cost of becoming a pharmacy tech depends on whether or not you enroll in a training program at a trade school or community college and whether you need to pass a licensure exam. Costs vary depending on the school you choose to attend and the program in which you enroll. Financial aid is typically available at most institutions to individuals who qualify. Time is another cost to consider when becoming a pharmacy technician. As you saw earlier, diploma programs can be completed in under a year, though some schools offer associate degree programs that tend to take longer.

pharmacy technicians work in hospitals?

Yes. Approximately 16
of pharmacy technicians work in hospitals, according to the
BLS. They also work in drugstores, pharmacies and other stores that offer
pharmacy services.

Now that you have some of your questions
answered, maybe you have made up your mind that being a pharmacy technician is
the career for you. That’s great news! All that is left for you to do is find a
school that offers a quality pharmacy technician training program. For those of
you in the Chicago area, your first choice should be Coyne College.

Pharmacy Program Chicago - Coyne College

Start Your Pharmacy
Technician Career at Coyne College

Coyne College’s Pharmacy Technician program will provide you with a comprehensive education in the pharmacy technician occupation. At the end of the program, which can be finished in as little as 42 weeks, you can feel confident and ready to start your new career in the pharma industry as a certified pharmacy technician.

Coyne’s experienced instructors will teach you the essential
skills you need to excel in the field. As a student in the program, you’ll
receive extensive instruction on relevant topics such as:

  • Medical terminology
  • Anatomy and pathophysiology
  • Laws, ethics and principles of pharmacy practice
  • Billing, records and inventory management

Coyne College’s Pharmacy Technician program has a day option
at their campus at the intersection of State and Madison streets. Coyne College
is dedicated to helping you fit an education into your busy schedule.

Coyne College is proud to offer an array of career services
and job placement resources, including mock interviews, externships, resume
assistance and a vast alumni network that can help you land entry-level
employment after completing the program.

Now is a great time to become a pharmacy technician and be part of bettering the health of the world’s population. Write yourself a prescription for a career as a pharmacy technician and get started today by visiting 

Faculty Spotlight: Ravyn Bolton – Pharmacy Technician


“As long as students are willing to adapt to change and learn something new each day they are going to impact and change lives”, hear more from our Pharmacy Technician Instructor Ravyn Bolton through the pharmacy technician faculty spotlight! Learn about her experience, teaching at Coyne, and advice to students!

Find out more details on Pharmacy Technician Program at Coyne College.

Chicago’s own Coyne College offers the in-demand degree and diploma programs employers right here in Chicago are looking for. We work with some of the leading employers in the city to help get you placed in a challenging career upon graduation. Bottom line, Chicago’s own Coyne College gives you hands-on training you’ll need to get the job done. 

1. Training programs focused on in-demand careers such as medical assisting and HVAC.

2. A variety of tuition assistance options to help make school possible. Coyne offers financial aid to qualified students as well as scholarship opportunities.

3. Flexible schedule options – we have programs with day and evening classes so you can find the option that fits your needs.

4. Dedicated career services department. Our Career Services team can help you reach your career goals. Plus we offer lifetime job placement assistance!

5. Over a century of career training experience as well as skilled faculty and staff to help you succeed.

Visit the Coyne College Website for more details about programs and start dates.