Find Out if Pursuing a Pharmacy Technician Certification is Right for You!

If you’re looking for a career field that has serious staying power, you can’t go wrong with any position in the healthcare industry. However, a lot of healthcare jobs can require pricey schooling and a few years of experience before employers will even think of hiring you. If you’re interested in the healthcare field but not the years of waiting to be employable, becoming a certified Pharmacy Technician might be the right option for you!

WHAT IS A PHARMACY TECHNICIAN?

If you’ve ever ordered and picked up a prescription from a pharmacy, you were most likely helped out by a pharmacy technician. Their jobs involve duties like:  

  • Collecting information to fill prescriptions
  • Measuring out medication amounts
  • Packaging and labeling prescriptions
  • Keeping track of inventory and alerting the pharmacist when medications are low
  • Customer service
  • Processing insurance claims
  • Data entry

Pharmacy techs are the people who keep the pharmacy running smoothly so the pharmacists can do their jobs. In most states, pharmacy techs are also able to compound and mix some medications, under the supervision of the pharmacist. Techs working in a hospital may have slightly different experiences, though, as their duties can include preparing intravenous medications and dispensing drugs to patients in hospital rounds.

WHERE DO THEY WORK?

Pharmacy technicians work anywhere a pharmacist does. This includes traditional drug store pharmacies, grocery store pharmacies, standalone pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, closed-door pharmacies, and compounding pharmacies, to name a few. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacies and drugstores employ 52% of the pharmacy tech workforce, whereas hospitals only employ 16%.

It is important to note that pharmacy techs usually find themselves working on their feet all day, so if you have any physical constraints, this might not be the job for you. Techs can also find themselves working odd hours, depending on when the pharmacy is open and if it’s 24 hours or not.

JOB OUTLOOK

With the aging U.S. population and the rise of chronic illnesses across all age groups, it’s no surprise that the demand for pharmacies is growing along with every other facet of the healthcare industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates employment of pharmacy techs will grow 12% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average of all other jobs. To put that in numbers, in 2016 there were over 400,000 pharmacy techs employed, and that number is projected to grow to over 450,000 in the next seven years. This is up from the projected 9% from 2014 to 2024, this it is likely this number will increase and demand does.

CAREER PATH

Most people, of course, want to keep advancing in their chosen career fields, and those who choose to become pharmacy technicians are no different. While there are not really any hierarchies in the pharmacy tech position, being a certified, experienced pharmacy tech can qualify you to move up to other positions, within a pharmacy setting and in other healthcare positions.

Because of pharmacy technicians’ knowledge of pharmacology and pharmacy operations, starting out as a tech can eventually lead to working for pharmaceutical companies, in hospital inventory management, and in supervisory roles, among other options. It is completely up to you and how much more education you want to pursue based on your experiences as a pharmacy tech. You might even decide to become a pharmacist yourself!

While not every state requires pharmacy techs to be certified, it is important to note that obtaining your certification will broaden your opportunities and increase your salary. If you choose to pursue a certification through Brighton College, we offer up to $150 in vouchers to put towards the exam of your choice. Visit www.brightoncollege.edu or call us at 1-800-354-1254 to learn more about getting your Pharmacy Technician Certification!

Life at Brighton: An Interview with Student Services Coordinator, Military Spouse, and Brighton Student Kaitlin Gerth

 

Choosing to go back to school is a big decision, and choosing which school to attend can be an even bigger one. For military spouses, these choices can be compounded by the uncertainty of your location. Distance education is a great solution to these logistical problems, but you might be nervous over the “distance” part!

That’s why we’re giving you an inside look at what it’s like to be a military spouse, a Brighton student, AND a Brighton employee! Our wonderful Student Services Coordinator, Kaitlin Gerth, answered a few questions about her experiences. Spoiler alert: They might just convince you to give distance learning a try! (If you haven’t already, that is.)

Flexibility is Key

Kaitlin is currently enrolled in our Paralegal Studies program, on top of having a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a Master’s in Education. Her undergraduate degree was entirely brick-and-mortar, which she describes as being good… until she was working two jobs to pay for tuition. She says, “it made it really hard to get to class on time⎯to work on time. So when I went to grad school, I was able to do a lot of it online, and knew if I ever went back to school, I’d do it online.”

When asked about the best part of being a student at Brighton, she says it’s the flexibility: “By working here, I decided to pursue my Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies, and it’s been really helpful to do the work on my time frame instead of someone else’s set schedule.”

Flexibility is a common theme in what she enjoys most about working and studying at Brighton. The best part of working at Brighton is the flexibility and “customer service” aspect of working with the students, she says. Of course, she also enjoys the people she works with and appreciates how her bosses help maintain the flexibility.

Distance Learning as a Military Spouse

Continuing with the flexibility motif, she explains that, as a military spouse, the best part of distance learning is the freedom and flexibility. In her own words:

“…to know that, no matter where we may end up, I can ask for a week or two off for a transition period, then pick back up where I left off. I don’t have to transfer schools and worry about 10,000 pages of paperwork to transfer any credits and whatnot. While traditional programs are super great and really beneficial for students who know they’ll be in the same place for multiple years, military members/spouses get uprooted every 2 years or so, less if they draw short straws, so it’s important to have some level of continuity in their lives, which distance learning definitely provides. I actually have a student that is deploying and he’s able to work on his program in his spare time overseas. Talk about flexibility!”

Brighton’s course freedom has allowed her to pursue her Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies without the fear of having to pick up and start over somewhere else. Paralegal Studies is one of our most popular programs, and it has allowed Kaitlin to follow her legal dreams. She says that once she found out the overwhelmingly rigorous process to get into law school, she put a law career on the back burner⎯but the paralegal program has allowed her to chase her childhood dreams, albeit in a different way than she imagined!

Kaitlin’s Top Tips for Exceeding at Online Learning

If you’ve never taken online classes before, you might not know the best ways to stay on track. Thankfully, as a student services coordinator and a distance learning student herself, Kaitlin has some great tips for excelling at distance education. Her top tip? Calendars.

CALENDARS! Oh my gosh, and planners!! I never really paid attention to planners when I was in high school, but I learned VERY quickly in college how beneficial they are. They even became a Christmas tradition in my family–my mom would always get me a really nice planner for the following year. By the end of the year, it was barely hanging on because I live by it, and still do. Mom won’t buy them for me anymore, but as an “adult” (I still don’t believe that), I have to buy my own. I also have multiple calendars around the house, and my husband thinks I’m insane. But, I’m never late on anything. Also, make lists–keep yourself accountable. I have a whiteboard that, daily, I write down everything I need to do that day, and things that, if I have time, I can get to. I prioritize by color and it helps motivate me to keep on task because I also have mild OCD, so going out of order also really bothers me. But, I’m really efficient because of this so it’s weird at first… but once you’re in the groove, it’s like riding a bike!”

If you’re interested in pursuing a degree or certification at Brighton, we hope Kaitlin’s experiences have shown you what a great option it is for those needing flexibility in their lives! For more information, feel free to contact us at www.brightoncollege.edu, or give us a call at 800-354-1254.