A much needed, but often overlooked healthcare position that is always in demand is pharmacy technicians. This role assists pharmacists in maintaining and distributing necessary medications to patients in a variety of settings.
Intrigued by this career? It’s time to discover what to expect when you earn a pharmacy technician certification.
While all states differ in their requirements, many only require a high school diploma and on-the-job experience before sitting for a certification. This can be great for job seekers but can also be a slow process for those with no prior experience or education. This also usually means you are starting at the very low end of the pay scale and will need to work your way up.
If you want to have the upper hand going into your job search, holding a degree from an accredited pharmacy technician program will help you land a job quickly. These programs take you step by step through the training you will use daily in your role as a tech, and also allow you to sit for certification at the end of your program, before you even get out and apply for a job.
The certification test usually takes a few hours to complete and covers all of the requirements necessary to effectively perform the duties that a pharmacy technician encounters daily. You are unable to continue working if you do not get your certification.
When choosing the pharmacy technician program, you will be faced with many choices. One of the biggest ones is the location of the school. Many schools offer fully-online programs which are great for those students who need more flexibility in their schedules or also have to work a full-time job during their schooling.
Some classes you can expect to take while getting your degree include things like Pharmacology, Anatomy and Physiology, Drug and Dosage Interaction, and Pharmacy Law. You will also take basic classes like English and Math, along with several electives that you can choose based on what interests you the most.
One of the final things you will do as a pharmacy technician student is to complete an externship. This is essential for both school and getting a job.
Classwork is great. It is important to learn and be able to retain the information that is provided to you in textbooks, online, and in lectures. But it is worthless information if you are unable to put it to use in a real pharmacy setting.
That’s one of the main reasons the externship is so important. It puts you in a real pharmacy, working alongside other technicians and under a pharmacist. This is where you are going to learn what to expect day to day and how to put those learned practices to use while doing the job.
An internship also gives you the upper hand when it comes to landing a job. If you do a good job at your internship, depending on staffing needs, it is a very real possibility that you will be hired without ever having to job search. Many times, if the pharmacy has a tech position open, they will offer you the job once your certification is complete. This is great for both of you – you have a position waiting for you and they have a candidate they already know and trust. It’s a win-win.
Sometimes staffing needs don’t allow for the externship location to have an open position after certification. This is where your pharmacy technician program steps in. Most schools offer career placement where they help with getting interviews and jobs.
For you this means having someone helping you sort through all of the job applications and open positions and being guided toward positions that are hiring in your area. When you are deciding on schools, always look at their job placement percentage. That is usually a good indication of how well the school does training you and how helpful they are in helping you find a job after graduation.
Know Before You Go
There are very few things in life that should hold you back from pursuing your dreams, going back to school and changing careers. It is important to do your research on schools before you jump into anything, but if you know this is where your life is headed, don’t let anything stop you.
There will always be financial aid packages available to help you with the cost of school if you qualify and there are plenty of open jobs throughout the United States. In fact, with the surge in healthcare and the growth of hospital systems, the pharmacy technician industry is projected to continually grow year after year.
If you are looking to make the change into getting certified in pharmacy technician training, the time is now to make those dreams come true. Enroll in school and get certified today.
This content is sponsored by Gary J Wilkinson.