Pharmacy technician job duties are varied, which means you’ll seldom have a boring moment in your career.
Aside from working with insurance companies and physicians to ensure the patient gets the right medications that are covered adequately, you’ll also be dispensing prescriptions under the tutelage of a licensed pharmacist.
This is one of those careers where you’re starting out in a supporting role, yet quite lucrative, and your goal is to gain enough hands-on education and training that you can move up the ladder to a higher position.
This isn’t the kind of job where you can slack off or go to work and perform well after a night of partying. You have to be careful because you are responsible for the lives of your patients who trust in you.
A pharmacy technician does not have to counsel patients one on one. They always have the licensed pharmacist on hand to handle that aspect of the job. But you will be communicating with drug companies, ensuring that the medications are viable and not expired or tainted.
The licensed pharmacist is going to rely heavily on you to run the pharmacy in almost a managerial role. That way he or she is free to handle the portions of the job you’re not yet qualified to do, such as working directly with the patients no drug interactions, dosages, and other sensitive issues.
There are three different places you might apply your pharmacy technician certification to get a job. The first is where the majority of pharmacy techs work – in a retail store like a chain grocery store pharmacy or a local Mom and Pop store.
The second is in a hospital pharmacy. Only about 15% of students start out here, and it’s a different environment, but very rewarding. And then there’s the online retailer career, which would mean more of a warehouse or at home experience if you’re involved with a mail order company.
How do you get trained for a pharmacy technician job?
There are several ways to do it. I highly suggest you visit some of the companies who provide training so you can see which one resonates best with you.
But your options are to go through your certification these ways:
- On-site hospital training
- Private schools
- Technical college
- Vocational college
- Community college
- Military training
- Internship with a pharmacy
After training, you’ll have to get certified by passing an exam. There are two exams and you might take either one. There’s the PTCB exam and the ExCPT exam. It’s not just some multiple choice test, either.
You’re going to have to prove yourself in labs and go out into the pharmacy world to try your hand at this career before they fully certify you. But you aren’t required to have a full degree.
Once you pass the exam administered by either the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians, you’ll be a CPhT, which stands for certified pharmacy technician. Your career doesn’t end there, however.
Pharmacy technicians have to maintain their certification through continuing education because things are always changing with prescription drugs. And this is a good thing – it means you’ll never become bored and stagnant with your career!
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