Pharmacy technicians work in a pharmacy setting under the direct supervision of pharmacists, assisting them with the preparation of prescription medications and helping customers. Common duties for pharmacy technicians in most states include labeling prescription bottles, counting pills, answering phones and performing administrative duties.
Pharmacy technicians are often required to work varying schedules, especially in pharmacy settings that are open 24 hours a day. Working nights and weekends is a common occurrence, but some pharmacy technicians choose to work part-time hours.
Although no standard training requirements exist for pharmacy technicians, employers desire to hire individuals with formal training at a community college, technical or vocational school. Pharmacy technician programs vary in length, depending on the school’s requirements. Pharmacy technician programs can last from six months to two years. Common subjects taught in training programs include pharmaceutical terminology, pharmaceutical record keeping, pharmacy laws and ethics and pharmaceutical calculations. Many programs require students to learn the names and dosages of medications that technicians commonly work with. Most training programs include an internship, where students receive on-the-job training. Some employees go on to hire technicians after their internship is complete.
Pharmacy technicians can earn certifications through the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT) and the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). To receive certifications, candidates must pass an examination, have graduated from high school and cannot have any pharmacy-related or drug-related criminal charges. Pharmacy technicians must re-certify every two years, which requires 20 hours of continual education courses within the two-year period. Pharmacy technicians can earn 10 hours of continual education requirements on the job under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist.
Pharmacy technicians must possess good communication, mathematics, reading and spelling skills. Technicians must be comfortable working with people, including coworkers, patients and other medical professionals. Technicians must also pay close attention to detail because making a mistake can be hazardous to a patient’s health.
The employment outlook for pharmacy technicians is extremely positive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a 25 percent increase in jobs is expected through the year 2018. Several reasons for the job growth include an increase in elderly patients, who often use prescriptions jobs as they advance in age. The advancement in pharmaceutical technology is leading to an increase in prescription drugs available on the market, which is resulting in the need to hire more pharmacy technicians. Individuals with training and certifications will have the best employment opportunities.
Surgical Technicians provide a vital service in operating rooms of hospitals, outpatient facilities and in some dental settings. Surgical Technician training typically takes nine months to two years to complete, and can lead to a certificate or an Associate’s degree in the field.
The curriculum provides students with a balance of in-depth coursework and experience in the surgical environment. Students learn about anatomy and physiology of the human body, operating room procedures, surgical instruments, sterile techniques and medical terminology. Education leading to an Associate’s degree will require general education classes in a variety of subjects including English and math, in addition to coursework in the field of surgical technology.
Applied experience in the operating room teaches students about the job functions they will provide after graduation. Standard job functions during practical experience include: learning to prepare patients for surgery, preparation of the operating room and medical instruments, assisting the surgeon by providing the requested medical instruments, proper use of medical equipment, reviewing charts and taking vitals during an operation, transferring patients to and from surgery and cleaning the operating room.
Surgical Technician training is not limited to standard job functions. There are numerous opportunities for advancement in the field. Many Surgical Technicians acquire additional training to become more specialized in their field. Some choose to specialize in certain organ systems, such as the heart, while others become First Assistants. First Assistants provide more specialized assistance to surgeons such as closing surgical incisions, retracting tissue and preventing blood loss.
Accredited programs will provide students with the coursework and necessary clinical experience to become certified in the field. Some jurisdictions do not require certification for Surgical Technicians, however most medical facilities prefer applicants with this credential. Additionally, Surgical Technicians that desire advancement in the field must be certified to perform more invasive duties.
The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) and the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) provide certification exams for Surgical Technicians. Each certifying body has its own requirements to sit for an examination. Upon passing the exam, the NBSTSA allows Surgical Technicians to be designated as a Certified Surgical Technologist. The NCCT uses the designation of Tech in Surgery-Certified, for passing the exam. Certification will need to be renewed at regular intervals to maintain any designation.
Surgical Technician training is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in health professions, whether as their first career or to change careers. Accredited programs provide students with a quality education in less time, minimizing the time it takes to enter the job market.
Pharmacists continue to be in high demand, due to an increasing need for prescription medications and an elderly population that is on the rise. Although there is a general need for new pharmacy professionals, not enough adults are getting education in the field to pursue this fast-growing career. This is advantageous for new students looking into pharmacy school because there is a better chance of a healthy job market for the field.
Pharmacist vs. Pharmacy Technician
In order to pursue your pharmacist goal, you must go to school to obtain the proper education. There are a variety of choices when it comes to schools for this particular career path. Your choice of school ultimately depends on whether you want to become a pharmacist or a pharmacy technician.
Many people use pharmacist and pharmacy technician interchangeably, but there are a few differences you should be aware of in order to choose the right school. While both career paths deal directly with medications, pharmacists are considered experts and are equipped to provide sound advice. The pharmacy technician role is one of an assistant to the pharmacist, and they are responsible for preparing and filling patients’
Due to the extent of knowledge that is expected, a pharmacist is required to go through more schooling. You will need at least two years of undergraduate work in science-based courses, such as chemistry and anatomy. Choosing a school that is known for a good science program is important. After completing basic courses, you will then need to choose a four-year pharmacy program. A school’s rating, as well as its graduation rate, is an important feature to look for. A person can graduate with a pharmacy degree in five to six years.
A pharmacy technician has some of the same roles as a pharmacist, but with fewer overall responsibilities. For this reason, you do not have to obtain traditional college training. You can also complete pharmacy technician schooling online in as little as one year or less.
Registration and Certification
Becoming a pharmacy technician often requires that you obtain a certification before you can get a job. Before obtaining the required paperwork, you will need to take a test. Both pharmacy technicians and pharmacists will also have to register in whichever state they reside in before they start practicing.
Pharmacy school leaves you with abundant career choices. The highest demand for related jobs is in drug stores, where you can act as a liaison between doctors and patients to help people get the medicines they need. Graduated pharmacists can also work for drug companies and hospitals. In few cases, pharmacists might also create their own medications.
Pharmacy technicians are trained to provide essential support to the pharmacist through a combination of administrative duties and prescription-related responsibilities. Employment opportunities are expected to increase presently and in the near future for pharmacy technicians as the number of clients and prescribing of medication continues to rise. Although technicians are required to register in the state where they practice, no formal licensing or certification requirements need to be met in order to obtain employment.
Pharmacy technicians are authorized to prepare prescriptions for clients, however they are not permitted to offer advice in regards to the medication or condition it treats. Similar to other healthcare occupations, individuals working in pharmacies are expected to maintain complete confidentiality regarding the records and identification information of the clients filling their prescription orders.
Traditionally, technicians were employed in retail and hospital pharmacies, responsible for counting and labeling medications with precision. As the selection and popularity of ordering and receiving prescription drugs by mail grew, employment opportunities became available in these locations as well. A number of pharmacy technicians acquire their skills on-the-job, but the expectation of employers that an applicant has completed a training program is becoming a preference among pharmacies. Training programs are offered at vocational-technical schools, post-secondary vocational schools and community colleges.
There is no set curriculum for technician training and they generally combine academic coursework with field experience through an internship. Coursework includes areas directly related to the occupation such as inputting and maintaining patient records, medical terminology, how to fill customer orders and an overview of the laws governing pharmacies and pharmacists.
Pharmacy technicians earn an hourly wage ranging from $11-$15 dollars per hour. An employee’s hourly rate is determined by a variety of factors including years of experience, certification status, pharmacy location and whether the technician is unionized. Certification is granted through successfully passing a national examination, a high school diploma or GED and criminal background information.
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam is offered by Pearson Testing services nationally and addresses three central content areas for technicians. These subjects are patient customer service, organization and maintenance of medications and records, and administrative responsibilities in a pharmacy. Job applicants are not required to submit evidence of certification or formal training to obtain employment in the field however employers often have greater confidence in hiring someone with certification than one who does not. Certification demonstrates comprehensive understanding of the responsibilities and duties the pharmacy technician will encounter in a pharmacy.
Pharmacy technicians work with licensed pharmacists to provide excellent service to patients that require prescription drugs or medical devices. They may dispense medications, educate patients on how to take their drugs, review requests for prescriptions with physician’s offices, work with insurance companies to coordinate payment and may also be responsible for administration duties at the pharmacy. A pharmacy technician certification program prepares students to complete these tasks and more with confidence and professionalism.
Pharmacy Technician Requirements
Although there is no standard program for pharmacy technician training, most employers look for students that have completed certification or some form of formal training. Programs take an average of three to 12 months are available through community colleges, hospitals, the military, vocational schools and online pharmacy technician schools.
Students in these programs learn medical terminology, how to calculate pharmaceutical figures, keep accurate records and interact with patients in a professional manner. Courses may also discuss pharmaceutical ethics and law. All pharmacy tech students must learn the proper doses, uses, side effects and interactions of the medications they dispense.
Learning often begins in the classroom but concludes in an internship. During this period, students work with professional pharmacists to gain real-world experience. This is an opportunity for students to refine their skills and gain confidence in their work under professional guidance.
Pharmacy technician certification is available through many organizations like the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians and the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. Students must pass a pharmacy technician test is necessary to gain certification.
Students interested in a career as pharmacy technicians should have excellent customer service skills, an ability to multitask in a fast-paced environment and an eye for detail.
Pharmacy Tech Income
In 2008, the median wage for graduates of pharmacy schools was $13.33 per hour. The highest earners in the field made an average of $18.99 per hour. Generally, certified pharmacy technicians earn more than those without certification.
Job Outlook and Advancement
The job outlook for pharmacy technicians is good. By 2018, the field is expected to grow by 25 percent. While job opportunities continue to grow, advancement opportunities are limited. Pharmacy technicians that work for large hospitals or pharmacies have the most opportunities to advance, but even those at smaller facilities may gain a management position. Some pharmacy technicians undergo extra training in a specialty such as nuclear pharmaceuticals or specialize in chemotherapy medications. Still others use their training to pursue a career in pharmacy sales.
What is a Paramedic? The term “paramedic” is well known and usually associated with people who show up to emergency calls in ambulances. However, many people wonder what paramedics really do other than drive an ambulance. Paramedics are trained in the healthcare field and are professionals that specialize in emergency medical situations. People pursuing a field as a paramedic are trained in all kinds of medical emergencies and trauma so they can provide advanced levels of care for the patient.
In the field of work, paramedics usually are based in ambulances or emergency response vehicles. A significant amount of paramedics also work in specialist mobile units. The paramedic’s main duty is to provide treatment for patients out of the hospital. Paramedics also are trained to do diagnostic services if needed. For example, if someone has called 911 and the paramedics show up, they need to be able to offer diagnostic services so they can figure out what is wrong with the patient and give emergency treatment if needed. Some paramedics do take hospital based roles when required. Hospital based roles include treatment of minor injuries.
For people aspiring to become paramedics, there is a requirement for medical training. Specific requirements vary from one area to another but the most common knowledge paramedics will have to know consists of handling injuries. For example, in the case of a spinal injury, the paramedic has to know how to safely immobilize the patient and transport them to the hospital without causing further injury.
Paramedics also are required to know how to identify fractures and make splints where applicable. Knowledge about burns; the varying degrees and how to treat them is also a common requirement for paramedics. The knowledge of how to treat burns and be able to recognize how severe the burn is as well as whether it will require more medical attention is essential. In addition, paramedics are usually trained in obstetrics, which involves caring for a woman’s reproductive system while she is pregnant. Duties could include assistance in childbirth and being able to recognize when a woman needs medical attention for herself and her unborn child.
In addition to training in routine medical equipment maintenance procedures and medical emergencies, paramedics are also trained in emergency vehicle operations. In order to be able to drive an emergency vehicle such as an ambulance, the person has to know every route possible in the region. Paramedics are trained in the emergency medical field so they can help people in a time of crisis.