6 Things to Look Out For While Starting Your Career as a Pharmacy Technician
Starting a career in the pharmaceutical industry can be a great decision because it’s a growing field globally. One career this industry offers is being a pharmacy technician. A pharmacy technician, just like any other career here, needs to understand the dynamics of this industry because it’s often a high-pressure working area.
From ensuring the proper medications to providing the best customer service, pharmacy technicians have a wide range of responsibilities, making their job both enjoyable and challenging.
So, in this post, we will discuss some of the essentials of the pharmacy technician career. We will talk about the role of pharmacy technicians, the requirements to practice this profession, and so much more.
The Essential Skills for Pharmacy Technicians
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected more than 11,000 openings in the field of pharmacy by 2030. There are many career possibilities in this field but one of the most high-paying are pharmacy technicians. For example, a clinical pharmacy specialist earns up to $132,000 a year based on experience.
So, if you want to join them, developing your skill set is essential according to the industry’s requirements. However, you will have to acquire a license before you can be a pharmacy technician. Knowing the concept of PTCB is helpful to ace the said licensure exam.
With certified professional training for pharmacy technician, you can better prepare yourself for the pharma industry.
Here are some essential skills you will need as a pharmacy technician.
- Customer service skills – Pharmacy technicians are often the face of the pharmacy as they deal with the customers regularly. Hence, providing high-quality customer service is essential to keep the customers happy.
- Detail-oriented – Pharmacy technicians that pay special attention to detail while issuing medications and drug prescriptions tend to make fewer mistakes.
- Skills in math and technology – As a pharmacy technician, you may be working with the latest software and may require quick math skills for billing.
- In-depth knowledge of the field – Having in-depth knowledge of the pharmaceuticals and functions of different medications is a must-have for any pharmacy technician. It reduces the chances of errors and makes you more effective at your job.
Things to Know About Being a Pharmacy Technician
Now that you know the essential skill set, let’s talk about some other pharmacy technician tips for effectively starting your career in the pharmaceutical industry.
Primary Role of a Pharmacy Technician
Primarily, pharmacy technicians provide support to licensed pharmacists. It includes several responsibilities, such as:
- Managing pharmacy inventory
- Taking patient calls in person or via phone
- Asking physicians for refill permissions
- Categorization of medications
- Preparing and mixing medications
- Reviewing prescriptions
- Measuring medications
- Entering data into the operating software
Some of these roles may involve the supervision of a senior pharmacist to ensure quality and safety. Moreover, it depends on the organization as to what they expect you to deliver as a pharmacy technician.
Go for Pharmacy Technician Licensing
Even though there is no strict educational requirement for pharmacy technicians, most pharmacies prefer professionals with experience and some hands-on education in the pharmacy industry. This is where PTCB certification can help. It’s a must-cross hurdle if you want to become a professional pharmacy technician in the US.
PTCB is short for Pharmacy Technician Certification Board, which determines the quality of technicians by assessing their patient care and pharmacy customer service skills.
Qualified pharmacy technicians receive certificates which is a critical factor in helping them get a job. But since the PTCB exam is quite comprehensive, it’s essential to appear in practice tests before you apply for the real one.
Hence, many private institutions and vocational centers can guide you about how to study for the PTCB exam and help you prepare with a pharmacy technician practice test.
Once you have cleared the PTCB exam, you also become eligible for a pharmacy technician license. Becoming a licensed or registered technician has many advantages and gives you a competitive advantage over other pharmacy aspirants with similar experience or qualifications.
To attain a technician license, one must pass an exam and complete predefined training hours.
Prospective Employment Sectors for a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have many options to find work, but they primarily work for retail pharmacies and hospitals. Similarly, nursing homes are also good places for pharmacy technicians, especially those who have cleared a PTCB exam.
That’s because these organizations often look for additional competence, which is more likely to acquire via a pharmacy tech certification.
In some organizations, a pharmacy technician must perform packing and shipping services for timely delivery to the patient. Some of the top names and best places for pharma tech professionals are:
- Tenet Health System
- CVS Health
- Anthem Blue Cross
Duration of a Pharmacy Technician Program
Typically, the top pharmacy technician courses can be up to you years long. However, some institutes also provide training courses that are just nine months in total.
Interestingly, many of these courses are fully available online, and the institutes also offer externship programs. However, it depends on your ability to qualify for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam.
Compared to a bachelor’s program in medicine, the pharmacy training program is much shorter, and more affordable for aspiring pharmacy students.
Since there is no strict requirement for educational background in the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam or a pharm tech job, you don’t need to rely on prior education to get the certification.
This makes it easier for professionals looking to change career paths but don’t have the professional education for it.
But, it’s worth knowing that most organizations prefer candidates who have a background in this area. So, having a bachelor’s degree with pharmacy training certification is an obvious advantage.
It’s a Multitasking Job
Pharmacy technicians are often found doing many things at once. From counting pills to filling prescriptions, managing inventory to adding data to the computer, the role of a pharmacy technician is quite diversified.
This means that you must be on your A-game all the time. Since it’s about human health, the responsibility of delivering is much more than that for a regular customer service professional at any store or outlet.
On-Job Training Opportunities
Interestingly, a PTCB certificate may be enough to land your first job because many pharmacies offer on-job training for their workers. This is an excellent option for inexperienced pharmacy technicians to earn skill and experience at the same time.
Becoming a pharmacy technician can be a prospective investment if you are good with the required skills and understand the dynamics of this field. With the average pharmacy technician salary being around $30,000 a year, it can be a promising field for aspiring pharmacy professionals.