Do you have some idea of what the pharmacy tech does? Well, they are responsible for many things.
They can remove hazardous waste from a pharmacy, take inventory of all medication in the store, put out new medications that come into the store, and then once they are set up, do patient consultations with customers who need to purchase their prescriptions.
Pharmacy technicians also operate cash registers at pharmacies which is another responsibility for this position! Do you think being a pharmacy technician sounds like an interesting job or not so much?
What is a pharmacy technician and what do they do?
A pharmacy technician in Canada is a person who performs activities that support the work of pharmacists and other health care professionals who provide direct patient care.
The majority of technicians in Canada are supervised by or work together with a pharmacist. You will find pharmacy technicians doing such things as preparing and handling medicines, taking inventory, ordering and receiving supplies, talking with customers, answering questions about medications or other health products.
The pharmacy technician is an important member of the pharmacy team who can contribute to the delivery of safe and effective pharmacy care.
With appropriate education, training, and certification, you can be confident that pharmacy technicians know how to do their job safely and responsibly in all aspects of the pharmacy operation.
Why is it important that technicians have educational credentials?
Having a credential means that you have met certain standards in education, training, and practice in your field. In pharmacy, technicians must have a credential from a pharmacy technician training program recognized by the provincial regulatory authority. Having a credential demonstrates to employers and clients that you have met all the appropriate standards for your profession.
How to become a pharmacy tech with little to no experience
I often get messages from readers asking me how they can break into the pharmacy industry with little or no experience. I think it’s a great question and one that doesn’t have a “cookie-cutter” answer. Pharmacy is very challenging and each pharmacist has had his or her own unique path to success.
No matter how long the road, I believe any pharmacist has to be good with numbers and good with people. Pharmacists are also multi-taskers, decision-makers, problem solvers, critical thinkers, and detail-oriented. Not everyone has these qualities in great abundance.
I’m not going to lie to you, pharmacy school is no cakewalk either.
In order to practice as a pharmacist in the United States, one must obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from an ACPE-accredited school. In addition, candidates for licensure must take and pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX). There are about 63 pharmacy schools in America, according to Wikipedia.
The cost of pharmacy school can vary greatly depending on the college or university one attends. According to Business Insider, the average cost of a pharmacy degree is $202,676 for a private school and $116,748 at a public school over 4 years.
How To Become A Pharmacy Tech With No Experience
If you have no experience in the pharmacy industry and would like to become a pharmacist, but can’t afford or don’t want to go to pharmacy school, there are different routes one can take. If your goal is to become a Pharmacy Technician, then a 2-year degree from a CTEC Certified Pharmacy Technician program will be required.
If your goal is to become a pharmacy intern, then it’s possible for those who have no prior experience in the field. For those with little or no experience, there are other options as well.
If you want to become a pharmacy tech but don’t have any experience in the field, while attending pharmacy school you will gain experience and knowledge through internships and rotations.
During your time in pharmacy school, make sure you get involved with student activities like: academic associations, volunteer programs, groups, and committees. Volunteering is a great way to gain experience in the profession before you graduate.
During the first 2 years of pharmacy school, you will have your basic sciences courses like chemistry, physiology, anatomy, and microbiology.
After that, students will finish up their last 2 years with clinical pharmacy courses focusing on pharmacotherapeutics or therapeutics which is where all the good technical stuff is.
Salary of pharmacist
Technicians, compared to the entry-level salaries of pharmacy technicians, vary widely across the United States. This article presents information about pharmacy technician salary comparison based on 2009 statistics.
For example, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), pharmacy technicians had an average annual salary of $24,460 in 2009 (www.bls.gov). This is $12,160 per year less than the average annual salary of $36,630 reported by BLS for pharmacists with an advanced degree (Table 1 below).
Table1: 2009 Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technician Salaries
- The dollar amounts are in thousands
According to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), the salary of pharmacists varies widely across the United States, depending on geographic location and position within a hospital or healthcare system.
For example, an entry-level pharmacist employed by a small independent pharmacy earns less than an advanced practice pharmacist working in emergency medicine, who may earn considerably more.
ASHP also reports that the average salary for pharmacists in 2009 was $111,460. This figure includes graduates of all degree types, including bachelor’s degrees, doctorates, and PharmD. It does not include income from moonlighting or hourly wages (Table 2).
Table2: Salary by Degree Type 2008-2009
Job Title Degree Type Annual Salary Annual Hours per Week Entry-level Pharmacist Bachelors $97,212 37.5 Advanced Practice Pharmacists Doctorate $122,400 45.1 Pharmacy Directors and Managers Doctorate $151,100 51.9 Based on the 2009 statistics reported by ASHP and U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For a comparison between the average salaries of pharmacist technicians and pharmacy, managers see Pharmacist Technician, Manager Salaries– 2009 Information.
Pharmacy technician job outlook for the next 10 years:
“The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 16.5 percent employment growth for Pharmacy Technicians between 2010 and 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations.”
Though it’s much more than an “average job”, when describing the profession to someone outside of the industry, this is what you might want to say:
“Pharmacy Technicians are helping to change the face of pharmacy through expanding roles, responsibilities and patient care.”
Pharmacy Technicians of today are tasked with greater responsibilities in many different practice settings. Pharmacy Technician job postings may very well list “pharmacy technician” under education, but an expanded set of duties can be seen under the position description and may include:
- Acting as a liaison between the pharmacy department and other departments within the hospital (i.e. nursing, physicians, respiratory therapy, etc.) to ensure appropriate patient care
- Assist with medication administration record review via direct observation (DOR) or drug accountability log (DAR), as well as a compilation of medication pass lists
- Assisting Pharmacists with medication preparation, dose verification/counting, labeling, dispensing, and organizing of medications for patient care areas
- Compiling inventory related to pharmacy functions (i.e. automated dispensing systems)
- Entering prescriptions into the pharmacy system using prescriber software or electronic prescribing devices
Becoming a pharmacy technician is an excellent way to work in the medical field and still have a flexible schedule.
Pharmacy technicians are supervised by licensed pharmacists and work in pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, […]