Pharmacy Technology

pharmacist counting pills

Pharmacy Technology

The Pharmacy Technology Program prepares individuals to assist the pharmacist in duties that a technician can legally perform and to function within the boundaries prescribed by the pharmacist and the employment agency.

Pharmacy Technology Overview

Amir Rakhshani, Pharmacy Technology Graduate

“The program I completed at A-B Tech has greatly helped me assimilate into that environment… It’s extremely important to know the interactions between different medications, which you won't learn just by going into a job.”

Amir Rakhshani
Blue Ridge Pharmacy

Career Opportunities

There are a variety of options when choosing a work setting as a Pharmacy Technician. Some of the options include Home Infusion services, Retail/Community pharmacy, Privately owned compounding pharmacies, Hospital/institutional pharmacy, manufacturing, etc. Things to consider when choosing a setting will include your personality, and wages offered. Some settings lend themselves towards a “ people person” and others do not necessarily warrant it.

How much money you make as a Pharmacy Technician greatly depends on the setting in which you choose to work. Of course, you can always start at the very bottom in some settings and make $10/hr, or you can start at $20/hr somewhere else. It also depends on where you want to live as pharmacy wages vary from state to state and even by region.

Good to Know

Apply online at Admissions Overview After you apply you will need to attend a new student orientation. To see when these are offered go to New Student Orientation

After you attend the new student orientation, you will need to go to the Bailey Building on the A-B Tech Asheville campus and see an advisor. Here you will specify that you want to apply to the Pharmacy Technology program and take your placement tests. If you are transferring from another school, and have your general English and Math requirements completed, please mention this to your advisor. If you are already a student at A-B Tech and are enrolled in a different program, but want to enroll in Pharmacy Technology, simply see an advisor in the Bailey Building and indicate this to them.

This means that the Pharmacy Technology program is looking for students that demonstrate a solid understanding of math, science, and comprehension skills. Seats are limited due to clinical site, resource, and/or lab space availability. To be accepted into a limited program, students must first be enrolled at A-B Tech and meet eligibility guidelines. Currently, we are not requiring the TEAS test and taking students on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Pharmacy Technology program generally does not cost any more than any other program at A-B Tech. The tuition and fees you can expect to pay can be found at Tuition & Fees. Our pharmacy program utilizes industry-leading PioneerRX pharmacy software. This software enhances the learning experience for students through hands-on simulations featuring the functions and workflow processes found in pharmacies. To learn more about PioneerRx's cutting-edge pharmacy software, visit PioneerRx

The diploma requires 43 credit hours and those classes required can be seen at Pharmacy Technology. The A.A.S. degree requires 71 credit hours and those classes required can be seen at Pharmacy Technology A.A.S. Why would you choose one over the other? Upon completion of the diploma, a student will be able to take and achieve success on the PTCB certification exam. This student will then be considered a certified pharmacy technician (CPhT). Upon completion of the A.A.S. degree, a student will not only take and achieve success on the PTCB certification exam but will continue to gain more knowledge and experience within the field of pharmacy technology. The student upon graduation will be considered an Advanced Pharmacy Technician by the NCBOP. The graduate will be prepared to assume more responsibility within the pharmacy such as the Tech check Tech program, not to mention more career opportunities.

During the program, you will experience classes that feature online lectures, face to face instruction, online/night classes, and firsthand experience via laboratory exercises and Clinicals. Clinicals are experienced later in the program and place the student within an actual pharmacy setting under the supervision of the clinical instructor and preceptors at the clinical site.

Some general education classes required for the Pharmacy Technology Program are offered at night and online. Some labs offered in our programs will be later in the day for working adults.

We have now moved most of our pharmacy PHM courses into Hybrid/Online offerings for our Pharmacy Technician programs. Some general education classes required for the Pharmacy Technology Program are offered online as well.

Great! That means you will have a lighter semester workload and the opportunity to pursue other electives if you so choose. If you are a returning student, you may want to check the completion date of your last computer class. A-B Tech only accepts computer classes that were taken within the last 5-years.

Unfortunately no, you are required to complete each class. It would be suggested that you pursue the A.A.S. degree if you are currently a Certified Pharmacy Technician, however.

Unfortunately no, you are required to complete each clinical requirement. The clinical settings will cover a variety of settings and will provide firsthand experience in settings that may be different than that of your current workplace. This can be frustrating but will provide the means in order to create the most well-rounded pharmacy technician that will be competent in most pharmacy settings.

The PTCB has drastically changed the PTCE so simply sitting for the exam with success is not as realistic as it once was. Formal Education is highly recommended for success the first time sitting for the PTCE. Also, the PTCB is considering legislation that in order to become certified, you simply cannot walk in and take the PTCB exam, you must graduate from an accredited Pharmacy Technology program in order to take the exam.

By law you do not have to, but why not place yourself ahead of the curve? As an Advanced Pharmacy technician, you can help bridge the gap between certified technicians and Pharmacists. If Pharmacy Technology is your chosen profession, then become a professional and achieve the highest degree you can within the field of pharmacy technology. You’ll also be better prepared, more marketable as an employee and leader, and of course, make more money. Pharmacy Technology has been projected to grow 42% in the next 5 years so why wouldn’t you want to be at the top of the list?

The state of North Carolina has the following requirements for pharmacy technicians:

• Pharmacy technicians must have a high school diploma or equivalent. • Pharmacy technicians are required to either complete a board-approved 6-month training program within the pharmacy or a pharmacy technician training program from a community college. • Pharmacy technicians must register ($30) with the state, and renewal ($30) is required annually by December 31st. • The state of North Carolina does not require certification, but a pharmacy is allowed to increase its technician to pharmacist ratio from 2:1, as long as each additional technician is nationally certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. Per the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists (ASHP): Every program graduate must be at least 18 years of age, and is a high school graduate, or possesses a high school equivalency certificate. § 90-85.15A. Pharmacy technicians. (a) Registration, Generally. – A registration program for pharmacy technicians is established for the purposes of identifying those persons who are employed or are eligible for employment as pharmacy technicians. The Board must maintain a registry of pharmacy technicians that contains the name of each pharmacy technician, the name and location of a pharmacy in which the pharmacy technician works, the pharmacist-manager who employs the pharmacy technician, and the dates of that employment. (a1) Registration of Noncertified Pharmacy Technicians. – The Board must register a pharmacy technician who pays the fee required under G.S. 90-85.24, is employed by a pharmacy holding a valid permit under this Article, and completes a required training program provided by the supervising pharmacist-manager as specified in subsection (b) of this section. A pharmacy technician must register with the Board within 30 days after the date the pharmacy technician completes a training program provided by the supervising pharmacist-manager. The registration must be renewed annually by paying a registration fee. (a2) Registration of Certified Pharmacy Technicians. – The Board must register a certified pharmacy technician who pays the fee required under G.S. 90-85.24 and provides proof of current certification. The registration must be renewed annually by paying a registration fee and providing proof of current certification. (b) Responsibilities of Pharmacist-Manager to Noncertified Pharmacy Technicians. – A pharmacist-manager may hire a person who has a high school diploma or equivalent or is currently enrolled in a program that awards a high school diploma or equivalent to work as a pharmacy technician. Pursuant to G.S. 90-85.21, a pharmacist-manager must notify the Board within 21 days of the date the pharmacy technician began employment. The pharmacist-manager must provide a training program for a pharmacy technician that includes pharmacy terminology, pharmacy calculations, dispensing systems, and labeling requirements, pharmacy laws and regulations, record keeping and documentation, and the proper handling and storage of medications. The requirements of a training program may differ depending upon the type of employment. The training program must be provided and completed within 180 days of the date the pharmacy technician began employment. (b1) Responsibilities of Pharmacist-Manager to Certified Pharmacy Technicians. – A pharmacist-manager may hire a certified pharmacy technician who has registered with the Board pursuant to subsection (a2) of this section. Pursuant to G.S. 90-85.21, a certified pharmacy technician shall notify the Board within 10 days of beginning employment as a pharmacy technician. The supervising pharmacist-manager and certified pharmacy technician shall be deemed to have satisfied the pharmacy technician training program requirements of subsection (b) of this section. (c) Supervision. – A pharmacist may not supervise more than two pharmacy technicians unless the pharmacist-manager receives written approval from the Board. The Board may not allow a pharmacist to supervise more than two pharmacy technicians unless the additional pharmacy technicians are certified, pharmacy technicians. The Board must respond to a request from a pharmacist-manager to allow a pharmacist to supervise more than two pharmacy technicians within 60 days of the date it received the request. The Board must respond to the request in one of three ways: (1) Approval of the request. (2) Approval of the request as amended by the Board. (3) Disapproval of the request. Disapproval of a request must include a reasonable explanation of why the request was not approved. (d) Disciplinary Action. – The Board may, in accordance with Chapter 150B of the General Statutes and rules adopted by the Board, issue a letter of reprimand or suspend, restrict, revoke, or refuse to grant or renew the registration of a pharmacy technician if the pharmacy technician has done one or more of the following: (1) Made false representations or withheld material information in connection with registering as a pharmacy technician. (2) Been found guilty of or plead guilty or nolo contendere to a felony involving the use or distribution of drugs. (3) Indulged in the use of drugs to an extent that it renders the pharmacy technician unfit to assist a pharmacist in preparing and dispensing prescription medications. (4) Developed a physical or mental disability that renders the pharmacy technician unfit to assist a pharmacist in preparing and dispensing prescription medications. (4a) Been negligent in assisting a pharmacist in preparing and dispensing prescription medications. (5) Failed to comply with the laws governing pharmacy technicians, including any provision of this Article or rules adopted by the Board governing pharmacy technicians. (e) Exemption. – This section does not apply to pharmacy students who are enrolled in a school of pharmacy approved by the Board under G.S. 90-85.13. (f) Rule-Making Authority. – The Board may adopt rules necessary to implement this section. Definitions "Pharmacy technician" means a person who may, under the supervision of a pharmacist, perform technical functions to assist the pharmacist in preparing and dispensing prescription medications. "Certified pharmacy technician" means a pharmacy technician who (i) has passed a nationally recognized pharmacy technician certification board examination, or its equivalent, that has been approved by the Board and (ii) obtains and maintains certification from a nationally recognized pharmacy technician certification board that has been approved by the Board.

NC Advanced Pharmacy Technician SECTION .1400 - HOSPITALS: OTHER HEALTH FACILITIES 21 NCAC 46 .1418 ADVANCED PHARMACY TECHNICIAN (a) The purpose of this Section is to set out requirements for the involvement of advanced pharmacy technicians in acute care hospital pharmacy practice settings as a means of facilitating pharmacists' delivery of clinical services. (b) Advanced Pharmacy Technician. An advanced pharmacy technician is a pharmacy technician who: (1) is registered with the Board and trained as specified in G.S. 90-85.15A; (2) is a certified technician; (3) holds an associate's degree in pharmacy technology conferred by either an institution within the North Carolina Community College System or an institution accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists; and (4) assists pharmacists with the preparation, dispensing, and distribution of prescription medications that will be administered by a licensed health care provider to an inpatient in a hospital. (c) Hospital. For the purposes of this regulation, a hospital is either: (1) a hospital licensed by the North Carolina Medical Care Commission; or (2) a psychiatric hospital operated by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. (d) An advanced pharmacy technician may validate the work of other pharmacy technicians only in connection with registered pharmacy technicians' filling of floor stock and unit dose distribution systems for inpatients in a hospital. (1) Advanced pharmacy technicians may validate only the following registered technician functions: (A) stocking of patient care unit medication inventories; (B) stocking of ancillary drug cabinet inventories; (C) stocking of automated dispensing or drug supply devices; (D) stocking of emergency kits; and (E) prepackaging of prescription drugs within the hospital pharmacy. (2) With respect to compounded or admixed prescription drugs (whether sterile or non-sterile), an advanced pharmacy technician may validate the filling of floor stock and unit dose distribution systems only after a pharmacist has verified that the compounded or admixed prescription drugs have been prepared correctly. (3) This Rule does not authorize a pharmacy technician to perform any act requiring the exercise of professional judgment by a pharmacist. (e) The hospital's pharmacist-manager is responsible for the oversight of advanced pharmacy technician practice, and that responsibility may not be delegated pursuant to 21 NCAC 46 .1411. The pharmacist-manager shall develop written policies and procedures that: (1) establish the parameters for pharmacist supervision of advanced pharmacy technician validation functions; (2) establish facility-specific training for advanced pharmacy technicians; (3) establish an ongoing evaluation and assessment program to ensure that advanced pharmacy technician functions are performed safely and accurately; and (4) establish a recordkeeping system that shall permit the identification of the advanced pharmacy technician who performs activities authorized by this rule. Readily retrievable records generated by this system shall be maintained for the period of time specified in 21 NCAC. 46 .1414(j)(1), unless there has been notification of a medication error resulting from the administration of incorrect medication or dose that has been validated by an advanced pharmacy technician, in which case these documents shall be maintained for a period of three years. (f) Pursuant to G.S. 90-85.15A(c), the Board approves a pharmacist's supervision of more than two pharmacy technicians where the additional technicians are advanced pharmacy technicians. This Rule does not relieve the pharmacist-manager of the obligation to request and receive written Board approval for a pharmacist's supervision of more than two pharmacy technicians where the additional technicians are certified pharmacy technicians but are not advanced pharmacy technicians. (g) A pharmacy technician performing validation functions described in this rule as part of a Board-approved 21 NCAC 46 .2510 pilot project at Broughton State Hospital or Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center may continue to perform such functions for a period of three years from this Rule's original effective date, after which time the pharmacy technician must meet all of the requirements specified in Paragraph (b) of this Rule to continue performing such functions.

Who is my advisor?

Zachary Jordan is the Chairperson of the Pharmacy Technology program and will be your advisor once you are enrolled in the program.

You can contact him by:

  • Office Telephone Number: (828) 398-7868
  • Email Address:
  • Office Location: AHWD 120.4
  • About the program in general-
    • Location of Pharmacy Technology classes: ONLINE, AHWD building rm 114 and 117, first floor.
    • Campus map: Campus map link
    • Full Time or Part Time choices for both degree and diploma programs
    • Breakdown of semesters: (required to take for the pharmacy technology program): Pharmacy Technology program by semester
    • Decide degree or diploma by mid-spring of your first year.
      • AAS (Associates in Applied Science) degree (70 credit hours) OR
      • Diploma (43 credit hours)
    • Registration, tuition, pharmacy tech pay, and more information:
  • Clinicals- include various retail and hospital type settings
    • Clinicals start in the summer of your first year (your 3rd semester) if you are a full-time student, or will start in your 4th semester if you are a part-time student. Your advisor will work around your schedule (home, work, etc.) as best they can and accommodate within reason with your site and distance preference.
    • How long are they?
      • Diploma: 192-hours
      • Degree: 432-hours
  • Drug quizzes- How will I learn all of the drugs required in the program?
    • You will have biweekly drug quizzes beginning in your first semester in the program. These quizzes will coincide with the materials learn in PHM-120 and PHM-125 as well as the current top 200 drugs list. You can prepare for drug quizzes by studying a few drug names at a time each day until the quiz day. You can also study in groups!
  • What do I need to turn in to my advisor before the program starts?
    • At the beginning of the year, students will be emailed to their student email accounts various forms to fill out.
    • You will need to fill out: health forms, the beginning of the program survey, and the pharmacy technology handbook signature sheet.
    • During the spring semester, Drug screening and background checks are done through Castlebranch Sign-In
    • Instructions: Go to: Castlebranch Pharmacy Technology link
      • Choose package selection Pharmacy Technology I need to order my Background Check + Drug Screen
      • Read information, then select “I have read this information”
      • Medical Document Manager costs $92, click agree to terms
      • Go through 8 steps to finalize your Background Check and Drug Screen
  • What should I wear?
    • Scrubs have to be dark grey, will need to be worn during labs, but not required for lectures.
    • Can be purchased at Reed’s uniforms:
    • Can be purchased at Uniform Destination:
      • Asheville Outlets (828) 670-9300 (Open 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. on Monday - Saturday, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Sunday)
  • Books
    • Books can be purchased through the A-B Tech bookstore in K. Ray Bailey building, using financial aid.
    • Used books are available in the bookstore on a first come first serve basis!
    • Look up what books you need: A-B Tech bookstore
    • OR you may purchase the book from previous students, online vendors etc.
  • Who do I talk to about Financial Aid?
    • You can walk-in or schedule an appointment regarding any financial aid information or questions in the K. Ray Bailey building.
    • A-B Tech Financial Aid link
  • Are there any scholarship available?
    • There are many scholarships available at A-B Tech, you just need to look for them and apply! If you do not apply, you can’t receive a scholarship. More information about scholarships available at A-B Tech can be found here: A-B Tech Scholarships
  • Student clubs
    • A-B Tech offers a variety of clubs and organizations to enhance the leadership, cultural, personal, and professional development of students. Some are program-specific, others are of general interest and open to all. See their descriptions for more details:
    • A-B Tech Student Organizations
  • What are some extra expenses I can expect while in the program?
    • To become a certified pharmacy tech, you will have to take the PTCB exam which is a $135 fee.
    • Background checks and drug screenings will cost around $94.00.
    • Flu shots and TB shots will typically cost $25 each as well.
  • Where can I find a calendar of the school year?

Pharmacy Technology Advisory Committee Board

Welcome A-B Tech Pharmacy Technology Advisory Committee Board members!

In order for our 2017-18 academic year to be our best yet, we need your input. Below you will see materials from our summer meeting. As a member of our Advisory Committee meeting, we encourage you to look through these materials, read the meeting minutes that will be posted after the meeting and then using your experience and insight within the Pharmacy Technology field, cast your vote on the issues that will guide our path for the 2017-18 academic year.