what do i need to know to be a pharmacy tech

Last Updated on December 28, 2022

Am I getting the right information about Doctor of Pharmacy Salary to follow my dream of being a pharmacist? Are you worried that I might not be getting the latest and most accurate information about this? Don’t worry as this article below contains the latest and most accurate information about what do i need to know to be a pharmacy tech.

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Several avenues are available for you to become a pharmacy technician after graduating from high school:

  1. Complete a certificate program at a technical school, lasting one year or less.
  2. Earn a two-year associate degree from a community college.
  3. Learn on the job from a registered pharmacist and senior pharmacy techs.

In the past, many pharm techs had learned the skills of the job from on-the-job training, but these days most employers prefer to hire technicians who have some education in the field. There is still much to learn in actual practice on the job.

Certificate programs and associate degrees come with pros and cons.. In a technical school’s certificate program, your education will be focused on courses you’ll need for the job, such as math used as a pharm tech; learning the various ways for dispensing medications; learning pharmaceutical ethics and laws; learning the names of medications and what they’re used for, as well as their typical dosages; and the method of practical record keeping for the job. The advantage is that in one year or less you can be working and getting paid.

Since an associate degree takes two years to earn, you have the opportunity for additional well-rounded and in-depth study. Additional courses could include anatomy and physiology, more pharmacy math or basic accounting, as well as communications courses that help when working with customers. Although it will take longer to earn the associate degree, it may give you an edge in getting a job, and it puts you halfway toward earning a bachelor’s degree, if you decide to continue your education as a pharmacist or in another field.

In May 2017, the median annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $31,750. A median is the midpoint in a list of salaries, where half earn more and half earn less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,000, while the highest 10 percent earned over $46,980. Median salaries were higher in hospitals, $36,710, than in pharmacies and drug stores, $29,500. As an hourly rate, assuming a 40-hour work week and two weeks’ vacation per year, hourly wages ranged from $11 an hour to $23 an hour or more.

Licensing requirements for pharmacy technicians vary by state, so check with your State Board of Pharmacy to learn your requirements. Becoming a certified pharm tech, which requires passing an exam given by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians, also helps you become a favored job candidate. Although you can become certified after working for awhile, some employers prefer to hire those who are already certified.

About the Industry

More than half of pharmacy technicians, 52 percent, worked in pharmacies or drug stores in May 2017. The second-largest group, 16 percent, worked in hospitals. The remaining pharm techs worked in food or general merchandise stores. Most work full-time, with schedules that include nights and weekends. Although the work is indoors, it does require standing most of the time.

Years of Experience

This is clearly a career where experience counts. Once you have some experience, not only are you a more favored candidate for a job but salaries are higher because of the additional experience and knowledge you bring to the job. You don’t need additional training just an explanation of how each employer may operate a little differently from another. You’ll be able to contribute to the job and be productive immediately. Additional skills, such as experience in filling IV and chemotherapy prescriptions as well as supervising less experienced pharmacy technicians, may also make you a more valued employee.

Job Growth Trend

With the population growing older, they have greater need for medication to fight the diseases of aging, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Therefore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the need for pharmacy technicians to grow 12 percent between 2016 and 2026. That’s a faster rate of growth than average.

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