The insistence on healthcare services has been increasing in recent years. The demand for medical attention has added to the increasing need for healthcare occupations, this includes pharmacy technicians.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment rate of pharmacy technicians is expected to grow 5 percent from 2021 to 2023.
Pharmacy services are expected to increase because of the many old people, who use more medication than younger people. An increase in rates of chronic diseases, like diabetes, also leads to an increase in prescription medications.
Pharmacy technicians are responsible for different tasks and work under a licensed pharmacist. Their duties and responsibility differ depending on where they work. They include:
- Measuring the amount of medication for the prescription.
- Answering phone calls from customers.
- Packaging and labeling prescriptions.
- Accepting payments for prescriptions.
- Enter a patient’s information into a computer system.
Pharmacy technicians have a lot of options when it comes to where they would like to work, including
- Pharmacies and drug stores
- Mail-order pharmacies
- Food and beverage stores
- Big box retailers
Ways to Become a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of pharmacists, who must go through the medications before they are given to the patients.
With the proper determination and motivation, you can become a pharmacy technician. Here are some steps to becoming a Pharmacy Technician:
1. Get a High School Diploma
Successful pharmacy technicians should have strong chemistry, mathematics, psychology, and biology backgrounds. Some students may want to volunteer at a healthcare setting or a hospital to strengthen their skills and get exposure in the field.
2. Prepare for the Pharm Tech Certification Exam
Finding out how to become a pharmacy technician is one of the most essential steps in your journey to becoming a pharmacy Technician.
You can start by taking some pharmacy tech tests. This will show you a real-world picture of how the exam will be.
It is advisable to take the pharmacy tech practice test. You can take the ptcb practice test by Medical Hero online, the questions on the practice exams are common pharmacy tech knowledge.
The online exams help simulate real exam conditions. Pharmacy tech certification usually covers the following subjects:
- Medical terminology
- Pharmacy law and ethics
- Healthcare systems
- Pharmaceutical calculation
3. Sit for the PTCB Certificate Test
If eligible, acquiring a PTCB certification is important to work as a pharmacy technician in some states. It is not compulsory in other states but employers might prefer candidates with this certification.
4. Apply for the Exam
After taking the pharmacy tech test. You must take the certification exam, if eligible. The exam is conducted by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
You can take the exam after concluding an education program recognized by the PTCB. Or apply in person via the PTCB portal with some funds.
5. Get Your License
Many states require pharm technicians to be licensed before they can be employed. Others might not need it at all. Check your state’s licensing requirements to get started.
Some retail pharmacies may provide trading on the job which can lead to you getting your license. Some others will require it before you get hired. It’s a good idea before jumping into the profession you understand what exactly you need.
6. Develop Your Workplace Skills
In the same vein as understanding math and science theories, you also need the right workplace skills. Here are some skills you should consider working on
- Pay attention to detail: There should be no room for error when you are filling prescription bottles or printing labels. A wrong medication could have very bad consequences for the customer.
- Improve your computer skills: You need to be comfortable with technology to record information throughout the day.
- Organization: Organization skills are very important to ensure precision when working with so many life-saving medications.
- Collaboration: Be ready to interact with other people, because as Technicians you have to work with pharmacists and nurses daily.
- Integrity: As a pharmacy technician, make sure you are prepared to work responsibly and ethically. You may have access to dangerous medications and cash every day, so integrity is a must.
7. Gain Work Experience and Customer Service Experience
While working toward your pharmacy tech career, you might contemplate looking for jobs that will help you gain experience.
Customer service can help prepare you to work with the public. Having experience can look good to managers looking for Pharmacy technicians.
Working in jobs like hospitals, doctor’s offices, and healthcare environments or labs will expose you to medical terms. It will help you understand why pharmacies are important.
8. Choose the Right Environment
It is important to spend some time thinking about what you will get from your future workplace. If you would like to work in an exciting environment.
You should consider jobs in a hospital, then if you want to make a real connection you could work in care homes. Meanwhile, if you’re talented in customer service you can take up a job in a retail pharmacy.
You should consider volunteering if you can’t find a job in any of these environments. It would look professional on your resume.
9. Continued Education
Getting your certification is an important step in your pharmacy technician journey. But, it doesn’t mean that it should be the end of your education.
Pharmacy technicians must renew their certification every two years. This makes sure that pharmacy technicians are aware of the changes in the industry.
Renewing your certification means you are no longer a certified PTCB and must stop identifying yourself as a pharmacy technician.
Pharmacy Technician Salary
The median annual wage for pharmacy technicians in 2020 was $35,100, this varies in different states. The last 10% of earners make less than $25,400 per year, while the highest makes 10% even more than $50,430. This career is rewarding to whoever wishes to work in a pharmacy setting.
Pharmacy technicians will play a vital role in pharmacy operations because pharmacists perform more patient care activities. With extra training and some experience, technicians can get into managerial roles.
You can choose to become an expert in a particular field like nuclear pharmacy technicians. You can also decide to go back to school and become a pharmacist yourself.