The U.S. Department of Labor has listed Pharmacy Technician as one of the jobs projected to register much faster than average growth in employment through 2018. These professionals held about 326,300 jobs in 2008* and their employment is expected to increase by 31 percent by 2018.**

If you’re wondering which profession we‘re alluding to, it is one of the most promising healthcare occupations to have emerged over the last few years – pharmacy technician.

A pharmacy technician is a professional responsible for fulfilling a number of pharmacy-related tasks. He or she, under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist or another healthcare practitioner, is responsible for a number of chores such as:

• Receiving prescription requests from customers/patients
• Providing non-prescription advice to customers/patients
• Verifying the information on prescriptions for accuracy
• Helping pharmacists in compounding of medication
• Maintaining patient records for reference
• Keeping inventory and tracking orders
• Preparing insurance claim forms

How to become a Pharmacy Technician

Although there are no formal educational requirements to become a pharmacy technician, employers prefer to hire professionals who have completed some sort of formal training in the field. Those who go to school to become pharmacy technician stand a much better chance of a) securing a job and b) remaining employed.

Those interested in this profession can choose from educational routes ranging from 3 months to two years in duration resulting in certificates, diplomas or Associate’s degrees.

Pharmacy technician training programs are available at career schools and lay the ideal ground for this profession. Some of these courses are also offered online and are completely self-paced.

Vocational pharmacy technician training programs are a lot less expensive than a college degree and combined with certification and industry experience; provide just the start your career would need.

Certification& Hands-on Experience

Certification, though not required by all the U.S. states, is highly recommended to improve job prospects. Therefore, it makes sense to evaluate a pharmacy technician course on its potential to prepare you for these certifying examinations before enrolling.

National certification examinations are held by The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT). Pharmacy technicians thus certified must be recertified every two years after completing 20 hours of continuing education.

Hands-on experience is also vital to becoming a pharmacy technician. If your pharmacy technician course does not include a practicum, it’s a good idea to apply for internships at local pharmacies to get some real world training.

Apart from knowledge of clinical and pharmaceutical terminology, pharmacy technicians should also look to build their statistical, computer, and customer service skills because a large part of their job involves interfacing with patients.

Career Opportunities & Earning Potential

While a majority of pharmacy technicians find employment in retail settings, some also secure jobs with hospitals, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Because of the 24/7 nature of their work, pharmacy technicians often have to work holidays, weekends and nights especially if they’re employed with retail and hospital pharmacies. But the contentment and satisfaction they get out of their jobs by helping others probably makes up for the tough condition they’ve to work in.

As for compensation, pharmacy technicians can make anywhere between $7.99 and $ 15.51 per hour, according to the data available on depending on factors like years of experience, employer, location, etc. ***


Author's Bio: 

Nancy is a 35-year old stay at home mom of two. She worked as a medical assistant for five years before taking a break to be with her children. Her experience as a medical assistant gave her valuable insights in to the medical billing and coding industry, which she likes to share with others through her writing. Medical billing and coding programs often find mention in her writings. Her expertise in Medical billing and coding training stems from her extensive research on the subject.