Pharmacy technician is a crucially important role that helps the local community using specialist medical knowledge and excellent communication and administrative skills. For those interested in helping others, earning a healthy salary in a job that isn’t going anywhere, and learning about human biology, this is a great fit.
Let’s explore this high demand job, training required, salary and lifestyle.
What is a Pharmacy Technician?
Those interested in the medical field will very often focus their efforts on becoming doctors, nurses, or perhaps dental assistants. In reality though, there are many other important jobs that will put an understanding of human biology to good use. A pharmacy technician is just one such role.
A pharmacy technician is someone who works in a pharmacy and is responsible for handing out prescriptions. This means they are also required to organize and manage large amounts of inventory, to measure and mix medications, to take notes, and even to provide medical advice in some cases. Depending on the company you work for, you might also be required to offer additional services – even providing basic medical checks!
Becoming a pharmacy technician does not require a degree, however you will need to be registered with the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) in the US1. This in turn will require training – it is required that you either hold a diploma or a GED.
Another route is to seek certification via the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). The NHA also offers certification, and requires applicants to have at least a year of experience working as a technician, and to hold at least a high school diploma.
When comparing courses and diplomas, it is important to look for those that offer an internship. This means that you’ll be placed within a pharmacy in order to experience what it is like to work as a technician. This can set you apart from the competition and may be instrumental in landing future jobs.
The PTCB does provide practice tests on its website, which will give you the option to try the exam yourself. This is a 90-question exam, with 80 questions being scored and 10 being un-scored. You are given one hour and fifty minutes to complete the test.
Subjects covered by the exam include:
- Pharmacy Law
- Billing and Reimbursement
- Information Systems Application
- Sterile and Non-Sterile Compounding
- Pharmacy Quality Assurance
- Medication Safety
Is This Job Right For You?
While anyone can study to become a pharmacy technician, different people will of course stand to gain different things from the experience. There are also certain skills and attributes that will make a person especially suited to the job.
For example, familiarity with IT (Information Technology) is important, as computers and software will be necessary for a lot of inventory tracking, financial transactions, and more. Math can also be advantageous, as can a knowledge of biology and medicine.
Interpersonal skills such as active listening, customer service, clerical skills, and more can be very useful too.
Salary and Lifestyle
As a pharmacy technician, you will enjoy a healthy salary of around $30,920 per year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
This is a profession that will likely always be in demand, and that is enjoying impressive job growth. Right now, the market is experiencing a job growth of around 9-13%, and this is thought to be around 12% to at least 2026.
Why is this job growing in demand? That’s because of the aging population. With baby boomers reaching older age, this places an increase demand on the pharmaceutical industry as a whole. In order to handle more orders and customers, more technicians are in demand!
As a pharmacy technician, you will be given a lot of responsible for the health, happiness, and well-being of others. Your ability to provide the right medication to the right person will be instrumental in ensuring their health and recovery. Some people will shy away from such responsibility, but others find it to be highly rewarding as they know they are making a positive difference in someone’s life.
If you think you would fall into the latter camp, then becoming a pharmacy technician will provide a challenging, rewarding, and secure career that is growing in demand all the time!