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.
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.
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!