The Potential of Expanding a Pharmacy Technician Career
The career field of a pharmacy technician is rigorously evolving due to social and cultural demands. Just within the last two years, there has been a sharp increase in both the desire for employees and the number of those employed in the medical field. This phenomenon is not necessarily surprising due to the decent pay, benefits, rewarding work, worldly experience, and new challenges facing the world each day. Careers in healthcare will always be available with a high demand for employees because of their necessity.
The Need for Pharmacy Technicians
In the healthcare industry, a pharmacy technician is typically responsible for counting tablets, filling prescriptions, updating patient records, labeling and organizing inventory, calling doctors for authorizations, and keeping detailed records. Each day in the life of a pharmacy technician varies, but they often work side-by-side with a licensed pharmacist.
This career is important in the age of medicine, so it’s equally important for a pharmacy technician to stay up to date with current procedures, terminology, etc. That’s just one reason to access continuing education and professional development resources for a pharmacy technician career.
Overall, there’s an initiative to allow pharmacy technicians more first-hand experience and more involvement in pharmaceutical processes. This helps alleviate some of the straining workload on pharmacists and allows pharmacy technicians to make things flow more efficiently.
A pharmacy technician career like this would provide a basis for a future career as a pharmacist, and if a person isn’t looking to use this position as a stepping-stone, it’s a great career in itself. The pay is sustainable, and the tasks can be rewarding. Regardless of reasons, training for a pharmacy technician dispenses practical field experience and first-hand training if someone wants to progress in pharmaceutical work.
Accessibility of Certification for a Pharmacy Technician Career
The accessibility of certifications encourages prospective students to take the plunge. For example, currently there are several ways to advance in the industry. Many of the courses are through universities’ schools of Pharmacy, Pharmacy Times Continuing Education, ProCE, or American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. With a variety of material to learn about, individuals can choose courses at their discretion.
Some states require pharmacy technicians to complete a specified, minimum number of continuing education (CE) hours every two years, such as Minnesota’s Board of Pharmacy, so opportunities are frequent and affordable. On the PTCB website, there is an entire section dedicated to guiding pharmacy technicians to approved CE courses.
In 2017, PTCB created the Certified Compounded Sterile Preparation Technician Program (CSPT). This allows Certified Pharmacy Technicians (CPhT) to demonstrate their expansive knowledge and their abilities on the subject matter and gain a more specified certification. In conjunction with specified certifications, companies like the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the National Association of Board of Pharmacy (NABP), the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), and the PTCB provide programs that align with CE requirements.
ASHP guides pharmacy technicians to professional development opportunities. It offers advancement through courses on their website as well as information for external career development or CE courses. Learning materials range from supplemental readings, seminars, and live online events to board certifications or accreditations.
Blackstone’s Career Training Program
Blackstone’s Pharmacy Technician career training program covers pharmaceutical terminology, calculations, pharmacology, and other medical-related terms that may be applicable. After successfully completing the program at Blackstone Career Institute, students are prompted to take the exam for certification of pharmacy technicians sponsored by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), or the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) provided by the PTCB. These certifications guarantee the pharmacy technician’s abilities and makes the candidate stand out.
Salaries for pharmacy technicians typically range anywhere from $30,000 – $50,000 annually depending on the employer, location, and qualifications. Qualified individuals seeking work can look in places like retail pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, long-term health care facilities, pharmaceutical firms, and other similar places.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to grow roughly 4% between 2019-2029.” The job description is also morphing into a cross between a traditional pharmacy technician and the minor roles of a pharmacist. This is due to the required tasks of pharmacists changing, like the addition of administering shots. Previously, these things were done in doctors’ offices, but today, shots for the flu and other similar illnesses can be given by pharmacists and in some cases, pharmacy technicians.
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) recently awarded funding to advance the pharmacy technician role in immunizations. Not to mention, according to the Pharmacy Technician Letter, Pharmacy Technician University (PTU Elite) has indicated point-of-care testing, which is a comprehensive training program that teaches pharmacy technicians to safely administer/perform CLIA-waived tests, meaning the tests are simple and leave miniscule room for errors.
The market for pharmacy technicians is growing, and there are many ways to achieve professional development and a fulfilling career as a pharmacy technician. After completing an entry-level program, there are a plethora of possibilities for eager pharmacy technicians.
It’s simple to apply for certification through PTCB, which many employers prefer or require in candidates. Another option is to enroll in more concentrated pharmacy technician courses, like CE courses. This is a popular choice after certification, because most states require practicing pharmacy technicians to update their training in a specified number of hours every couple of years. This ensures pharmacy technicians maintain their training and continue learning.
A pharmacy technician career encompasses crucial skills taught in entry level programs, fine-tuned in CE and professional development courses, and endorsed through certification. All this education facilitates more opportunities in the job market by making candidates both more confident and more knowledgeable pharmacy technicians.