Pharmacy Technician Career Specialty
These days, almost everyone has at least one type of medication they rely on to improve their health or keep a health problem at bay. The prompt, accurate dispensing of medications is key to patient health. Pharmacy technicians work underneath pharmacists in drugstores, pharmacies, hospitals and other locations that fill prescriptions. This profession is steadily growing, and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy serves over half a million Pharmacy Technician certifications worldwide (2017).
Pharmacy technicians are required to complete a variety of tasks, from labeling and sorting medications to filling prescriptions and assisting customers at the pharmacy counter. Those who have questions about their medications or prescriptions often go to the pharmacy technician first, so you have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of patients in this valuable medical position.
Pharmacy Technician Training
In many cases, medications have a huge impact on patients’ lives and health. As a result, you need to be well-trained and educated in pharmacology and medication handling to succeed in this field.
Pharmacy tech programs are highly specialized and offer a completely different type of training than what you would get in an associate degree in medical assisting or similar program.
You may be able to complete your pharmacy technician training in less than one year if you earn a diploma or certificate. However, you may be in school for about two years if you go through an associate degree program.
Some of the lower-level courses you may take during your pharmacy technician certification program may include Human Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Medical Terminology, and Computer & Information Technology. These courses provide you an intensive knowledge of the human body and how it works, which can be helpful when you’re looking at many different types of medication every day. You can also learn about the medical terminology that pharmacists use every day. Computing courses may familiarize you with the computer systems used by pharmacies.
After completing your lower-level courses, there are many in-depth pharmaceutical courses you take at most Pharmacy Tech schools. Common classes include Pharmaceutical Calculations, Pharmacology for Health Professions, and Pharmacy Operations & Prescription Processing. At the end of your program, you may complete a practicum course. This course gives you real practical experience at a local pharmacy.
By the time you complete your training, you should feel comfortable working with patients, answering their questions, and knowing when to direct them to the pharmacist. In addition, it’s important to feel confident counting, sorting, and labeling medications. Pharmacy technician schools are tasked with educating you to be adept at your future job by providing you with the tools you need to succeed. To find certified pharmacy technician programs, select those schools below that you are interested in and request more information about their offerings.
Licensing and 2017 Job Outlook for Pharmacy Technicians
As a pharmacy technician, you may need to get licensed by your state’s Board of Pharmacy. Requirements vary significantly from state to state, so it’s important to contact your local Board of Pharmacy to find out what you need to do to legally work as a pharmacy technician. In some states, you simply need to become hired as a pharmacy technician and then register with your state Board of Pharmacy. In others, you must complete a period of training underneath a pharmacist and or pass a pharmacy technician test before getting your license.
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board is a nationwide optional certification board. Having this certification on your CV can demonstrate your pharmacy knowledge and experience. You must apply to take the PTCB exam. Once you pass the rigorous certification exam, you can become a Certified Pharmacy Technician. To keep your Pharmacy Technician license valid, you must complete 20 hours of continuing education every two years.
As more people gain health care coverage and begin to get much-needed prescriptions, the demand for pharmacy technicians may grow. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job openings for pharmacy technicians to increase by nine percent between by 2024, leading to over 50,000 new jobs in this time frame. Their estimates indicate that the average pharmacy technician in the United States earns $30,410 per year (BLS, 2017).
Are you ready to work with people and keep a fast-paced pharmacy running smoothly? Contact local pharmacy technician schools to learn more about programs in your area.
Pharmacy Technician Schools By State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia