Becoming a pharmacy technician in New Jersey
It's important to familiarize yourself with New Jersey's pharm tech licensing laws if you intend to work there.
Pharmacy technicians are important allied health professionals who are essential to the operation of pharmacies and making sure people get the medications they need.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were nearly 12,000 pharmacy technicians in the state of New Jersey alone in 2022. The job outlook for the profession is bright, with an expected growth of 5.6% through 2032, about twice as fast as the average across all occupations.
The process of becoming a pharmacy technician varies from state to state, so it's important to familiarize yourself with New Jersey's licensing laws if you intend to work there.
Understanding the role of a pharmacy technician
Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists with filling prescriptions and many of the other daily tasks that help a pharmacy run smoothly, including:
- Measuring out prescription medications
- Properly packaging and labeling prescriptions
- Collecting patient information in order to fill a prescription
- Processing insurance and accepting payment for medication from customers
- Taking inventory of medication supply and maintaining pharmaceutical equipment
The majority of pharmacy technicians work in retail pharmacies, but some are also employed by hospitals and clinics, pharmaceutical companies and compounding pharmacies.
Almost all states, including New Jersey, require pharmacy technicians to be licensed or registered with their board of pharmacy or other regulatory body to practice.
Each state sets their own laws regarding pharmacy technicians. Almost all states, including New Jersey, require pharmacy technicians to be licensed or registered with their board of pharmacy or other regulatory body (such as a department of health) to practice. Some states require pharmacy technicians to be certified in order to get licensed, but New Jersey isn't one of them.
New Jersey state-specific regulations for pharmacy techs
Those who wish to work as pharmacy technicians in the state of New Jersey must register with the New Jersey Board of Pharmacy. The Board regulates all pharmacist licenses and pharmacy technician registrations.
Pharmacy technicians can be hired before they register with the Board, but they must submit an application to the Board within the first 10 days of employment and complete the registration process within 180 days of employment.
In the Board of Pharmacy's statutes and laws, they state that pharmacy technicians can assist a licensed pharmacist with the following:
- "Retrieval of prescription files, patient files and profiles and other records, as determined by the Board, pertaining to the practice of pharmacy"
- "Data entry"
- "Label preparation"
- "Counting, weighing, measuring, pouring and compounding of prescription medication or stock legend drugs and controlled substances, including the filling of an automated medication system"
Requirements for becoming a pharmacy technician in New Jersey
Applicants wishing to register as a pharmacy technician with the New Jersey Board of Pharmacy must satisfy the following requirements:
Be 18 years of age or older
Possess a high school diploma or equivalent education
Demonstrate that they are proficient in written and spoken English
Submit an application and pay the appropriate fee
Submit their name, address and fingerprints for a criminal history background check
New Jersey pharmacy technicians are not required to pass a certification exam such as the ones offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
To register with the Board of Pharmacy, you must submit an application through the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. This application requires you to submit various supporting documents, including a birth certificate and passport-style photo.
According to the Board's website, it takes approximately three to nine weeks to process and approve an application.
Pharmacy technicians must renew their registration every two years by submitting a renewal application and paying the applicable fee. New Jersey pharmacy technicians are not required to complete continuing education to renew their registration.
Career pathways and opportunities
Starting off as a pharmacy technician in New Jersey is relatively easy. You don't need to have any special education beyond a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for registration with the state's Board of Pharmacy.
Although you may be able to find work right away, many employers prefer pharmacy technicians to have some sort of additional training or qualifications, such as attending a pharmacy technician program and/or possessing a relevant certification. The PTCB's Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) is a popular, nationally recognized credential that many employers like to see. Having this or a similar credential could improve your chances of being hired or possibly qualify you for more advanced pharmacy technician roles.
According to the PTCB's website, there are currently 31 institutions in the state of New Jersey that offer PTCB-recognized education and training programs for pharmacy technicians.
As you gain additional education and experience, you may qualify for more specialized pharmacy technician roles. These can vary in name and job scope depending on the employer, but some examples may include:
- Working as a lead or senior pharmacy technician
- Moving into pharmacy technician roles centered around data entry, insurance information, customer service or something else
- Specializing in a specific area of medicine and its associated medications, such as oncology (which is more common at hospitals)
- Using your pharmaceutical knowledge to work in sales
- Capitalizing on your experience to move into other allied health roles such as a physician's assistant or nurse (which require additional education)
NJ pharmacy technician salary and compensation expectations
The median annual salary for pharmacy technicians in New Jersey is $37,590 according to the 2022 Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics from the BLS. This is on par with the national median, which is $37,790. Individual salaries can differ based on numerous factors, including years of experience, any certifications the technician may have, geographical location, employer type and more. According to their data, the BLS reports that pharmacy technician salaries in New Jersey range from approximately $29,920 (bottom 10%) to $50,530 (top 10%).
Pharmacy technician jobs are typically full-time, hourly positions. Being an hourly employee versus a salaried employee can be both advantageous and come with some drawbacks. For example, hourly employees have the chance to work overtime or on holidays to earn extra pay. That said, hourly positions are less likely to include benefits such as health and dental insurance, paid time off, a 401(k) and the like, but that really depends on the employer. Many big-name pharmacy chains like CVS and Walgreens offer these kinds of benefits to their pharmacy technicians.
Median Hourly Wage$18
|Metro area||Median Salary||Bottom 10%||Top 10%|
|Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ||$36,280||$28,090||$47,570|
|Ocean City, NJ||$34,470||$27,430||$47,250|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2022 median salary; projected job growth through 2032. Actual salaries may vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.
Challenges and rewards of the profession
Being a pharmacy technician in the state of New Jersey comes with its own set of challenges and advantages.
A pharmacy technician's job can be repetitive at times, but it's important that your attention to detail remains laser-sharp when you're counting, weighing and measuring peoples' medication. On top of that, interacting with customers who may be ill or injured can be stressful. They may be simply irritable at best, but at their worst a customer could become distressed if, say, they discover their insurance doesn't cover their medication or the medication isn't ready when they thought it would be.
Customers are also one of the reasons why the job is rewarding, however. The pharmacy technician may not be their nurse or doctor, but they do get to play a part in helping people get well, which can be gratifying knowing your work is making a positive impact on others' lives. In addition, you need relatively little education to become a pharmacy technician in New Jersey which can get you into the workforce quickly. Coupled with a flexible work environment, a pharmacy technician job is great for entry-level health care workers.
Resources for pharmacy technicians in New Jersey
To find out more about being a pharmacy technician in New Jersey, consider visiting some of the following resources:
- Contact the New Jersey Board of Pharmacy for any questions about registration as a pharmacy technician in the state and for the latest updates regarding the practice of pharmacy within the state.
- Pharmacy technicians can join the New Jersey Pharmacists Association (NJPhA) to access exclusive benefits, including access to free continuing education opportunities, networking opportunities, news on any relevant legislative updates and more.
- If you choose to pursue the PTCB's CPhT credential, check out their program directory to find approved pharmacy technician education programs in the state of New Jersey.
A pharmacy technician career is a great option for entry-level health care professionals in New Jersey. With minimal education requirements to register with the state's Board of Pharmacy, it's incredibly easy to kickstart your career. Although completing a pharmacy technician education program and/or getting certified is not required, it could make you an attractive job candidate and qualify you for better positions.
Whether you want to have a pharmacy technician career for life or as a first step towards other health care professions, start searching for programs today to begin a fulfilling career in the Garden State.
Published: November 16, 2023
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