How to Become a Pharmacy Technician
If you enjoy helping others and are looking for a secure and rewarding career, becoming a pharmacy technician is an excellent choice. Due to the aging baby boomer population and the escalation of prescription drug use, pharmacy technicians are currently experiencing a high demand for their services that isn’t expected to go away anytime soon. If you wish to start a pharmacy technician career, you need to enroll in a pharmacy technician school.
Pharmacy technicians are responsible for establishing and maintaining patient files, preparing claim forms for insurance purposes and keeping inventory of all prescription and over-the-counter remedies. Their main duty is filling prescriptions and having them double-checked by a pharmacist before giving them to the customer.
Pharmacy Technician Training
Certified training for pharmacy technicians is acquired through classroom and laboratory work in several areas, including terminology, calculations, record keeping, techniques and the laws and ethics of the pharmaceutical industry. Information for preparing for the exam can be found at the website for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (www.ptcb.org).
High school students preparing for a career in this field should enroll in biology, chemistry, English, calculus and general sciences in order to successfully apply for the pharmacy technician program. Eligibility for the exam requires that program graduates have no felony convictions within five years of applying and no drug- or pharmaceutical-related felony convictions ever.
The typical pharmacy technician course includes an internship in which students get hands-on experience in an actual pharmacy. This provides the opportunity for students to develop real-world skills like working with pharmacists and honing their customer service skills, which can’t be accurately simulated in the classroom. There are some online pharmacy technician courses available, but these should be supplemented with real-world experience, paid or unpaid, for the best possible results.
After entering the workforce, pharmacy technicians need to re-certify every two years in order to maintain state law requirements. Re-certification involves 20 hours of continuing education within the two-year period, with at least one hour of that devoted to pharmacy law. These hours can be easily obtained through colleges (both classes and online courses), pharmacy training programs and pharmacy associations, and up to 10 hours can be earned on the job under the careful watch of the resident pharmacist.
Pharmacy Technician Prospects
The above-average demand for pharmacy technicians is not expected to dwindle anytime soon, which translates into many pharmacy technician jobs available now and in the foreseeable future. Salaries can range from $13 to $17 dollars an hour and are directly related to the amount of experience you have and the city you work in, among other factors. Those trained as a pharmacy technician also enjoy the flexibility of translating their skills into other jobs, such as becoming a laboratory technician or upgrading their skills by getting a pharmacist degree.