Getting into the right career path can open doors you never thought possible. The booming pharmacology industry often gets overlooked by students just starting out but has the most opportunity with higher than average job growth expected through 2020.
This week we are highlighting Pharmacy Technicians. These jobs are the gateway to a wealth of opportunities in pharmacology, public health and even business administration.
So what exactly is a Pharmacy Technician? Here’s the rundown.
Duties. Pharmacy technicians fulfill a variety of administrative tasks in the pharmacy setting. Duties include collecting the necessary information from customers to fill a prescription, counting and measuring tablets and other medication, preparing ointments and fielding phone calls from customers. Technicians work closely with pharmacists and gain valuable on the job training that can lead to greater career opportunities down the road.
Work Environment. Technicians primarily work in pharmacies, including those found in grocery and drug stores, hospitals and independent locations. Over 50% are hired at pharmacies and drug stores. Hospitals typically pay the most, followed by grocery and drug stores. Hours vary depending on the location, but many can be long including overnight hours.
Outlook. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the field is expected to grow by 32% from 2010 to 2020, considerably ahead of other occupations. As the baby boomer generation continues to age, the need for pharmacies at convenient locations will rise as will the need for trained technicians. In the Tampa Bay market alone, pharmacies have expressed a need for trained technicians. Some businesses will also help cover the cost of the national exam.
Pay. The average salary in 2010 for a Pharmacy Technician was $28K. The number rose to $32K at hospital pharmacies. Experience and education also pushed the average up to almost $40K at various locations. While the pay does have a lower starting point, the opportunity to gain real world experience and work towards the next level in your career is invaluable.
Education. Pharmacy technicians are certified through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board’s (PTCB) National Certification Exam. Courses can last anywhere from a few months to a year depending on the frequency of classes. Courses cover subjects like medical and pharmaceutical terminology, pharmacology, anatomy, federal and state laws that govern pharmacy and prescription/billing procedures. The Institute for Corporate and Continuing Education currently offers a 2 month course to prepare students for the national exam.
Future Endeavors. Working in the pharmacy setting helps technicians to get a better understanding of the field. Many go on to get Pharm.D. programs which take an additional 4 years to finish after undergraduate studies. Salaries for pharmacists average around $100K and go up from there based on experience.
Finding the right career is a big decision and many times there’s not just one answer. If you are detail oriented, organized, enjoy challenges and have an interest in healthcare then becoming a Pharmacy Technician may be right for you. For more information on training please go to www.TampaTraining.com.