Becoming a Pharmacy Technician

February 12, 2012 in Medical Careers

Pharmacy Technician Careers

Have you always wanted to be employed in the healthcare field but don’t want to put in the years of medical school to become a doctor? The good news is that there are a variety of job positions within this industry to choose from that don’t require extensive schooling. If the idea of working with medical professionals and interacting with patients on a regular basis are some of your career aspirations, you may want to look into the possibility of becoming a pharmacy technician. The best way to find out if this type of job is a good fit for you is to do research and learn more about what working as a pharmacy technician entails.

Clarification of the Job

A common mistake is the belief that a pharmacy technician, or also known as a pharmacy assistant, is the same as a pharmacist. Although both positions are similar, they do differ in some areas. The general duties of a pharmacy technician involve the administrative aspect. This includes greeting patients at the pharmacy counter, taking down their name and information, collecting payment, labeling bottles, keeping pharmacy records updated and interacting with insurance companies as necessary. What pharmacy techs do not do is handle, sort or distribute medication or advise/consult with patients about their medication.

One way to better understand the relationship between pharmacists and pharmacy techs is to compare it to that of doctors and nurses. While both have knowledge of the medical industry and work in the same facilities, one position requires lengthy and extensive training, which allows them to take on more serious tasks, whereas the other receives basic training, allowing them to use their skills to assist in various situations.

Training

Many people may be surprised to know that there is currently no formal training procedure or standard put in place to become a pharmacy technician. However, some States may have their own special requirements/training, such as being registered with the board of pharmacy in the person’s State of residence or having a high school diploma or its equivalent. While on the job training is available, one of the best ways to secure employment is by completing a certificate program. Due to the growing demand for pharmacy technician jobs, there are now various types of certificate and other related training programs. Enrolling in a pharmacy technician program introduces students to concepts such as pharmaceutical techniques, law and ethics in pharmacy, medical terminology, and pharmacy recordkeeping, as well as a combination of classroom and lab work.

Earning Potential of Pharmacy Assistants

Although pharmacy techs do not make as much as pharmacists, those with previous experience and proven training through a certificate program have the ability to secure better pay. As with other positions in the healthcare industry, the role of a pharmacy technician is increasing in demand. This is definitely good news for those that are job hunting.

Certified pharmacy technicians have the ability to earn over $18 per hour, while non-certified techs or those with no previous experience typically make a little over $10 per hour.

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