Want a new career in a field that is rapidly growing?
It’s easy to switch into a career as a pharmacy technician. Plus you’ll find your job rewarding knowing you are helping others improve their health and heal illnesses.
Have you thought about going back to school to get your pharmacy tech license? Keep reading to find out how to get started.
What Does a Pharmacy Tech Do?
A pharmacy technician is a person who works directly with the customers. They act as the liaison between the customer and the pharmacist by providing customer service. They also maintain the inventory, compound medicines and also stock machines.
A particular tech’s responsibilities may vary depending on where they work. So you may be called upon for different tasks within different environments. This could be in a hospital, chain drugstore, wholesale, mail-order pharmacy, independent drugstores, nursing home, or big-box retailers.
Where Will You Work?
Depending on where you get a job as a pharmacy technician, you may be required to do different tasks. For example, in a hospital setting, you are more likely to work with IV medications and do more laboratory preparation for patients.
There may also be an emphasis on cleaning and the sterility of the lab work within a hospital. You’re also less likely to work directly with the patients or customers. You may also be asked to restock drug-dispensary machines that nurses use to retrieve medications quickly.
Whereas within a retail pharmacy you will be more directly in contact with customers. This could mean assisting a customer with questions about the medications such as dosage or how to take the medication.
You are most likely only expected to maintain the inventory within the main pharmacy. Rather than having to restock multiple machines as well as the primary supply area like in a hospital.
If you’d prefer to work in an office setting without face-to-face interactions with customers, then you may prefer a mail-order pharmacy position. This type of pharmacy tech will spend most of their time filling prescriptions from a workstation.
This is a meticulous job where you will spend time preparing compounds, filling vials, and maintaining the inventory as well as the patient database. This type of position requires a keen eye and attention to detail.
Is Being a Pharmacy Tech Right for You?
It’s important when considering a pharmacy technician career to understand what it entails. You should have a genuine interest in pharmaceuticals and a love for biology, chemistry, and math.
Luckily becoming a pharmacy tech is a straightforward process. If you know you have a desire to be a part of the medicines that promote health and recovery from illness, you can find an accredited program to get started. If you’re not sure where to find a program, you can see more options here.
How Long Will It Take?
Most certificate programs can be completed within a year or less. If you are taking an associate degree program it will typically take you two years to complete.
Once you complete your program you will be required to complete on-the-job training or an externship. This will help you gain real-world experience within a pharmacy. Some states do require you to also become certified.
However, even in states where certification is not required, the majority of employers only hire pharmacy techs who are certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
In addition, pharmacy techs are required to pass a recertification exam every two years. Plus they must complete at least 20 hours of continuing education prior to taking the exam.
How Much Will You Make?
A pharmacy technician makes around $32,700 per year and on average $15.72 per hour. The job outlook continues to be a faster than average increase at 7%.
There are also many opportunities for growth within the field. This includes earning an associate’s degree, specializing in a particular aspect such as laboratory work. There is also the option of taking on managerial roles.
Choosing a career as a pharmacy technician can open the door to a variety of other positions. Including a pharmacist, nursing assistant, or another medical professional. Oftentimes people in this field have a similar desire to help others. This is a great match for a career in the healthcare industry.
What Will I Learn?
Throughout your certification program, you will be asked to learn about a variety of pharmacy and medical terms. During an introduction to pharmacy, your program will walk you through the basics of daily pharmacy operations.
Next, you begin to learn how to read dosage forms and how different medications interact in the body. This also includes Basic mathematic principles for dosing. You’ll also take courses on the drug approval process for general use as well as administering drugs to patients.
You’ll study the pharmacy operations of a hospital. Including some guidelines for working in a hospital and what the role of the pharmacy technician is. Finally, you’ll learn more about the laws governing pharmacy and pharmacology practices in the U.S. Including the ethics involved in working in a pharmacy.
It’s also important to learn about customer service and how to answer questions regarding the medications given. An associate degree often includes additional education including the areas mentioned above.
In addition, you will learn communication skills, as well as go into further details of pharmacology and over-the-counter drugs. Some pharmacy techs choose to continue their education through an associate’s degree. However, it is not typically required for an entry-level position.
Get Your Pharmacy Tech License!
If you’re excited to start a new career in an area that won’t take a ton of additional studying to dive into, then getting your pharmacy tech license may be the right choice for you.
Being a pharmacy technician takes a lot of attention to detail and the ability to take on multiple tasks at once. Your customers are depending on you to provide them with the right dosages. So it’s a really important position!
We hope this information will allow you to make the best choice for your career. Looking for more up-to-date information? Check out the latest breaking news in your area!