When you think about options for a career, medical field jobs are worth considering as most of them are stable and well paying. Even though many people immediately think only of doctors and nurses when they consider the medical field, there are many other available positions, including the pharmacy technician. Further understanding your role as a pharmacy technician will assist you in determining if this would be a viable career path for yourself.
What characteristics should a pharmacy technician possess?
A pharmacy technician must excel in customer service. Typically prior experience in retail is an asset for pharmacy technician positions. Technicians must be detail oriented and organized. If you meet all of these criteria and have an interest in working within the medical field, this may be a great career choice.
What duties does a pharmacy technician typically fulfill?
One of the biggest components of understanding your role as a pharmacy technician is grasping the full spectrum of duties that a technician covers on a weekly basis. Most technician positions include a combination of the following duties:
- Assisting pharmacists with dispensing medication including counting, measuring, mixing, and weighing it.
- Preparing prescription labels and packaging.
- Greeting customers and taking their prescription requests.
- Accepting payments for prescriptions and handling other money transactions.
- Interacting with customers both on the phone and in person.
- Preparing inventory reports and insurance claims.
- Entering information in customer databases.
Where can pharmacy technicians find jobs? What types of hours and shifts are available?
The majority of pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies that are housed in drug stores, grocery stores, and hospitals. Most pharmacies have both full-time and part-time positions available. As many pharmacies are open 24 hours 7 days per week, some technicians do have weekend and/or night shifts.
What schooling is required to become a pharmacy technician?
Pharmacy technicians must possess a high school diploma or a GED. The educational requirements past this point vary in different states. Some states require individuals who are interested in becoming pharmacy technicians to attend a community college or vocational school course. Typically this course lasts approximately one year and awards a student a certificate upon completion. Other states allow their pharmacy technicians to obtain certification through on-the-job training.
Several schools offer pharmacy technician degrees but some offer certifications. To earn top dollar in the industry, as with most industries, more education will more likely nab the position. Pharmacy technician degrees are programs that can be completed in less time than doctor of pharmacy programs (Pharm.D), which is a full-blown pharmacist.
Pharmacy technicians are a vital service to pharmacists and pharmacies in drug stores, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, research laboratories and clinics. They average a starting salary of roughly $30,000. Depending on where you choose to work and the benefits offered, your overall compensation as a pharmacy technician can be even higher.
1) University of North Carolina
The Eshelman pharmacy school at the University of North Carolina is considered by those in the field as the best pharmacy and pharmacy technician school. It boasts some of the most tenured experienced professors who emphasize basics and technical materials. There is an extensive focus on mathematics, biochemistry and chemistry subjects which are strong background courses for pharmacy and pharmacy technician trainees.
2) Purdue University
Purdue, in Indiana, is widely known for agricultural, veterinary and medical sciences. The pharmacy technician program here is highly rated and recommended. It graduates students ready to work immediately in the pharmacy technician field by offering internships and hands on experience. Purdue is a widely respected university and its name on your resume will open doors.
3) University of Kentucky
Former students and companies have ranked this pharmacy technician college high on the list due to its extensive program courses. The instructors have decades of experience working and teaching the workings of pharmacies and passing on the skills required. It offers detail orientated laboratories and highly stresses accuracy. Horse lovers have an added bonus with the gorgeous horse farms and lush bluegrass surroundings.
4) Ohio State University
Rounding out the top four is Ohio State. A highly admired school for biomedical sciences, Ohio State’s hands on pharmacy technician program is one of the most prestigious in the country. Many of its pharmaceutical graduates have gone on to manage some of the biggest pharma companies in the world. The pharmaceutical sciences programs here are at the top of many lists in prestige and brainpower.
A pharmacy technician is someone who is supervised by a licensed pharmacist, and assists him or her in a variety of ways. The job normally involves filling prescriptions by counting pills, packaging and labeling them; entering a patients records into a computer and keeping the records current. They may also wait on customers. Pharmacy techs work in pharmacies that may be located in hospitals, clinics and drug stores.
Although an individual can be hired with nothing more than a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training, it is becoming more necessary to go to school for formal education and training as the field becomes more and more competitive. There are a variety of ways to accomplish training which include options such as getting an associate of arts degree at a two year community college or going to a tech school, which usually does not involve quite as much time.
Courses differ from school to school but the subjects that are commonly taken in pharmacy tech school include pharmacology, anatomy, chemistry, physiology, pharmacy terminology, pharmacy administration, pharmacy law and medical billing. Other courses involve learning how to fill prescriptions such as dosage, pharmacy calculations, drug preparation and compounding medications. Much of the coursework is hands-on and accomplished in labs.
Many schools have programs where you go out into the work force and practice skills learned. Pharmacy technician schooling can take from six months to one year to finish. Once you have completed pharmacy technician schooling, you must take the national test administered by either the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians or the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. Passing either of these two tests gives you certification as a pharmacy technician.
There are many different tech schools all over the country, which offer Pharmacy Technician programs. Online research can help you decide which route you want to pursue. Graduating from a pharmacy technician school and receiving certification does not guarantee a job; however it can definitely help increase your chances of finding a job in this field.
Becoming a pharmacy technician can be a fulfilling job and some technicians enjoy their careers so much they eventually decide to go on with their education and earn a degree as a licensed pharmacist. If you are interested in this line of work, going to tech school is a step in the right direction. With an increasing demand for healthcare services and with the population growing older, the career outlook for pharmacy technicians is a good one. Pharmacy technician schooling can start moving you down the path toward a successful career. Why not get started today?
When looking for opportunities for a career, finding a job in the medical field could be a good option. The medical field is one of the most stable fields to start a career in. When most people think of the medical field, they think of doctors or nurses, but the truth is that there are so many more options for those seeking a job in this field. Becoming a pharmacy technician is just one of the options to consider for a person interested in a career in the medical field.
Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists in dispensing medication. They prepare and measure the medication and fill the prescriptions. Pharmacy technicians also package and label the medication and accept payment from customers. A pharmacy technician is the person in the pharmacy that is most likely to be interacting with customers, whether in person or on the phone.
Most pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies located in hospitals, grocery stores, or drug stores. They can work on a full-time schedule or a part-time one. Many pharmacies are open for twenty four hours a day, so some pharmacy technicians work at night or on the weekends.
Pharmacy technicians are required to have a high school diploma or a GED. Beyond that, the education required to become a pharmacy technician varies from state to state. Some states require that those hoping to become pharmacy technicians attend a course at a vocational school or a community college that usually lasts about one year or less and awards the student a certificate upon completion. Other states allow their pharmacy technicians to learn through on-the-job training.
Job prospects for future pharmacy technicians are extremely favorable. Job growth in this area is expected to grow by 32%, which is a great deal faster than the average for all occupations. This is due to both the fact that more prescription drugs are being used to fight disease and the fact that the elderly population is growing. Because of this, more pharmacy technicians are being hired than ever before. These new pharmacy technicians will make an average of $28,400 annually.
A person looking into becoming a pharmacy technician should excel in customer service. Previous retail experience is often an asset for those applying for pharmacy technician jobs. A pharmacy technician should be organized and detail oriented. For those who meet these criteria and aim to work in the medical field, becoming a pharmacy technician is an excellent choice.
Students today face an important choice when it comes to their schooling. They have to choose a program that will lead to a fulfilling career. They also have to choose a program that will suit their strengths in one way or another. Many students have found that pharmacy schools fit the bill in this regard. These schools have a lot to offer students when compared to other options. When compared to medical school, dental school, or even PA school, pharmacy schools provide more access, a shorter program, and reasonably uncomplicated job prospects.
Slightly more access with pharmacy schools
Anyone who has applied to dental school or medical school can tell you that those programs are notoriously difficult to get into. They provide a ton of rewards on the back end to compensate for that difficulty. Pharmacy schools provide more access to a wider range of applicants. This is not to say that these schools are easy to get into. Students still have to have a solid, comprehensive application package to get into most programs. They are a more realistic option for more students, though. This is one of the primary reasons why so many students have turned to pharmacy programs today.
Shorter program length in many cases
Many pharmacy students will take four years to complete their program. Some will have the opportunity to finish up in three years. There are accelerated programs out there that allow hard working students to get things done in a hurry. This is one of the major advantages of pharmacy schools over other types of medical science programs. There are no medical schools or vet schools out there that are allowing people to finish early. Pharmacy schools provide this cost cutting possibility for the rare student who wants to go above and beyond the call.
Beginning work in a hurry
One of the issues with many medical careers is that you have to start out in a terrible position with a complicated apprenticeship. Doctors have to go through residency where they work brutal hours. Dentists often struggle to land jobs in practices right out of school. Pharmacy school graduates are able to step right into a good position once they get out of school. The career path is relatively uncomplicated for people who have taken the time to finish school. This is a major advantage for those students who are thinking about which career they would like.
A career as a pharmacy technician offers steady employment, good benefits and interesting responsibilities. A pharmacy technician does not have to achieve the same education that is required for a pharmacist. Accordingly, their responsibilities are less strenuous. The pharmacy technician nonetheless fulfills an important role within the medical community, making this a desirable position for many people.
The basic duties carried out by a pharmacy technician generally relate to assisting the pharmacist. Some of the technician’s work is clerical in nature. Other responsibilities deal directly with the distribution of medication. Specific duties will vary depending upon the technician’s level of experience and their place of employment.
On any given day, the pharmacy technician may be responsible for bottling pills after counting them. Then, they must produce a label for the prescription bottle. Some of their work will relate to entering patient and medication information into the pharmacy’s computer system. They may also be assigned to keep certain pharmacy records updated. Frequently, the pharmacy technician will have the responsibility to wait on patients. They can also expect regular contact with various insurance companies to coordinate data.
Pharmacy technicians are not responsible for communicating with patients about their medication. Since they do not have the same level of education as the pharmacist, they are required to pass any patient questions or concerns along to the pharmacist.
Many people who become pharmacy technicians do so because the education required to enter this field is minimal. Usually in less than a year, a student can complete their training and find a job. Some degree of on the job training is also to be expected, particularly for new pharmacy technicians. Deciding on this career path means that individuals will have many workplaces from which to choose. Retail pharmacies, mail order pharmacies and hospital pharmacies are all likely employers.
Most pharmacy technicians are required to interact with the public on a daily basis. As this is a primary component of this job, it is necessary that anyone considering this field have good people skills. Many of the customers with whom the pharmacy technician interacts are elderly and they really appreciate a friendly smile and warm demeanor behind the desk at the pharmacy. Individuals who are organized and efficient tend to excel in this career. With plenty of opportunities for finding rewarding employment, an increasing number of people are choosing to become pharmacy technicians.