This post provides detailed information on the pharmacy technician education and career pathway, to help you learn the training you need to have to become a pharmacy technician and how to advance your career and be successful in it.
Why Choose Pharmacy Technician Career?
Some of the reasons why you should choose to become a pharmacy technician include:
- It is an entry level job that can lead to other jobs. For example, if you work for a chain drugstore, then you may be able to move up to a pharmacist position.
2. The salary is good. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual wage for a pharmacy technician was $30,900 in May 2015.
3. There is a high demand for pharmacy technicians. BLS reports a high growth for pharmacy technician jobs.
4. A pharmacy technician has many opportunities for advancement, for instance, you can become a manager or supervisor.
5. Many employers offer tuition reimbursement programs. These programs help employees pay for their education while they are working.
Pharmacy Technician Education Requirements
The following are the basic requirements for becoming a pharmacy technician:
- High school diploma or GED certificate.
- Must pass a criminal background check.
- Age 18 or more.
Pharmacy Technician Continuing Education
Continuing education is very important for any profession. In order to keep your skills sharp and stay current on new trends in the industry, it is recommended that you take continuing education classes. Some examples include:
- Drug Information Update Course
- Medication Safety Training
- Computerized Prescribing System
- Health Care Fraud Prevention.
Pharmacy Technician Certification/License
There are two types of licenses required by state law for pharmacy technicians:
- State license – This type of license allows you to practice in one specific state only.
- National certification – This type of license is issued nationally by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).
ASHP offers national certification in six areas:
- Patient Care Technician
- Clinical Laboratory Technologist
- Compounding Technician
- Home Infusion Therapy Technician
- Hospital & Ambulatory Services Technology
- Medical Office Administration.
Pharmacy Technician Career Opportunities
The career opportunities available to a pharmacy technician include:
- Pharmacy technician instructor
A pharmacy technician instructor teaches students how to perform certain tasks in the pharmacy.
Examples of these tasks include:
- Preparing prescriptions
- Checking inventory levels
- Assisting customers
- Taking customer orders
- Helping patients fill out paperwork.
2. Pharmacy technician assistant
This is another way to describe the role of a pharmacy technician. An assistant performs routine duties like stocking shelves, cleaning rooms, answering phones, etc. See detailed pharmacy technician assistant duties.
3. Pharmacy technician supervisor
You can supervise others who are performing certain tasks. For example, you could supervise an employee who is preparing medications or checking inventory. See detailed pharmacy technician supervisor duties and responsibilities.
If you want to advance in your career as a pharmacy technician, you should consider taking courses related to management or supervision.
4. Pharmacy technician manager
If you work in a large retail chain, you might manage employees who are responsible for stocking merchandise, checking inventory, assisting customers, etc. You will need to have strong leadership skills in order to lead people effectively.
5. Pharmacy technician
You can also call yourself a pharmacy technician. However, this term is not regulated by the federal government. Therefore, there are no licensing requirements or certifications.
In addition, there are several other job titles that may apply to pharmacy technicians, including:
- Dispensing pharmacist
- Pharmacy manager
- Pharmacy director
- Pharmacy owner
- Pharmacy consultant
- Pharmacy educator.
How to Advance your Pharmacy Technician Career
There are many ways to advance your career as a pharmacy tech. Here are some suggestions:
- Take online courses
Online courses offer flexibility because they can be taken at times convenient for you. They allow you to study from home or anywhere else you choose.
Some online courses even give you access to tutors so you can get help when needed.
2. Get certified
There are several different certifications available, which require passing tests and completing coursework.
Certifications are often required to take on new responsibilities within a company. They provide proof that you possess specific knowledge and skills.
3. Join professional associations
Professional associations are groups of individuals with similar interests. They offer networking opportunities and educational benefits.
Many organizations sponsor events where professionals share their experiences and discuss topics relevant to their careers.
4. Attend conferences
Conferences are gatherings of professionals to learn about current trends in their field.
They are usually held once per year. In addition, many companies host annual meetings where they showcase the products and services they offer.
Networking allows you to meet people who can assist you in advancing your career. You can meet these people through social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
6. Ask questions
It’s important to ask questions during interviews. Interviewers want to know if you have any concerns regarding their organization. They also want to know if you understand what they do.
7. Be persistent
Persistence is essential when it comes to getting ahead. If you don’t follow up after an interview, you won’t hear back.
This means that you won’t have another opportunity to show off your skills.
8. Stay positive
Keep in mind that negative thoughts can affect your performance. Negative thinking can cause stress which leads to poor decisions. Instead, focus on how well you perform each day.
How to find a Good Pharmacy Technician School
There are different ways to find a good pharmacy technician school. These include:
- Search Online
One way is to search online using websites like Google. Another option is to contact local schools directly.
2. Open houses
You can attend open houses hosted by schools. Open house events typically include information sessions where students talk about the program.
Students also demonstrate their skills and answer questions.
3. Talk to friends
Another option is to speak to friends who attended pharmacy technician programs. They may be able to recommend schools based on their experience.
4. Check out reviews
Reviews are written by previous graduates. They can help you determine whether a particular school meets your needs.
Reviews are especially helpful if you’re considering attending a distance learning program.
5. Read articles
Read articles written by experts in the field, they will give you some insight into the profession.
How to be Successful in your Pharmacy Technician Career
Here are useful ideas you can apply to be successful in your pharmacy technician career:
- Learn from others
Learn from other pharmacy technicians. They can teach you valuable lessons and provide guidance.
2. Set goals
Set realistic goals. Don’t set yourself too high expectations.
Follow-up is very important. Make sure you keep in touch with employers. This helps them see that you’re serious about your job.
4. Take initiative
Take initiative when necessary. For example, if you need to complete a project or task, take charge and get it done.
5. Be flexible
Be willing to adapt to changes. No two jobs are alike. Therefore, you must be willing to change your approach.
What does a Pharmacy Technician Do?
A pharmacy technician performs many tasks, including:
- Preparing prescriptions
- Checking patients’ medical records
- Assisting pharmacists
- Monitoring drug interactions
- Administering injections
- Maintaining inventory
- Providing patient care.
Qualities of a Good Pharmacy Technician
The qualities to have to be a good pharmacy technician include:
- Communication skills
The ability to communicate effectively is critical. You should know how to listen as well as speak clearly.
2. Problem solving skills
If you encounter problems while working, you should be able to solve them quickly. You should also be able to identify solutions and implement them.
3. Organizational skills
It’s essential to have organizational skills. You should be able to organize your work and stay organized.
4. Patient care skills
Your primary responsibility is to ensure that patients receive quality care. Therefore, you should be familiar with all aspects of medication administration.
5. Interpersonal skills
Your interpersonal skills are important. You should be friendly and courteous. You should also be respectful towards patients and co-workers.
Pharmacy Technician Salary
According to Glassdoor, the yearly total compensation for a certified pharmacy technician in the United States is $59,889, with an average salary of $33,875 each year.
Pharmacy Technician Job Outlook
From 2020 to 2030 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of pharmacy technicians is expected to expand at a 4% annual rate, which is slower than the national average for all occupations.
Pharmacy technicians play a vital role in ensuring that patients receive safe and effective medications.
As such, they deserve respect and recognition and should be paid fairly for their efforts.
This post has provided all your need to know about the pharmacy technician’s education and other things to be successful in the career.