The Real Truth About Pharmacy Technician Work: Is It Really That Hard?
Choosing the correct career path is essential. It will impact future job opportunities and the candidate’s happiness.
Any role in the healthcare industry requires a lot of hard work. And the role of a pharmacy technician carries a lot of responsibility.
This article will explore what the position entails and the qualifications required, as well as the pros and cons of becoming a Pharmacy Technician.
Pharmacy Technician Training
The ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists) has a postsecondary education program. This program can put you in a great position, especially when applying for a pharmacy technician post.
Many certificate programs take less than a year, while associate degrees can take two years to complete.
On-the-job training is possible in some states. This allows students to gain hands-on experience.
You will need to check with state laws as to whether certification is required. Some employers may still insist on this even if it is not a legal requirement.
There are two bodies responsible for these certifications. The PTCB (Pharmacy Technician Certification Board) and NHA (National Healthcareer Association).
Recertification is required for qualified pharmacy technicians. This must be done every two years.
Pharmacy Technician Job Role
The role of a pharmacy technician is to primarily assist the pharmacist. Other job responsibilities might include:
- Collating patient data
- Dealing with customer queries
- Accepting payments and processing insurance claims
- Inventory management
- Prescription creation
- Prescription labelling and packaging
Pharmacy technicians will work in retail pharmacies as well as hospitals. These are typically full-time positions. However, some part-time positions may be available depending on the pharmacy in question.
Pharmacy Technician Prospects
Statistics gathered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show job prospects for pharmacy technicians are promising.
A projected 5% growth to 2031 puts this in line with most occupations. Across the US, as many as 43,500 job openings per year are expected.
The average pharmacy technician pay for 2021 was $17.66 an hour. This works out to $36,740 annually.
The Pros of Becoming a Pharmacy Technician
Becoming a pharmacy technician has many potential benefits. These include:
Qualifications can be completed quickly
If you are applying for a position in a state with no requirements, you can undertake on-the-job training. This will typically take between 1 and 2 months.
ASHP diplomas will take up to one year but can be completed in shorter timeframes. PTCE certification can take as little as 6 months. Associate degrees take the longest to complete at 2 years.
Online training is convenient
Not everyone will have the freedom to enjoy full-time schooling on their way to becoming a pharmacy tech. Taking a pharmacy technician course online can provide candidates with a flexible way to learn.
Online training courses can often be tailored to suit schedules. This makes becoming a pharmacy tech a possibility for those in other full-time work.
Training helps you develop existing skills
Learning how to calculate dosages and convert measurements will improve existing mathematical skills. Pharmacy calculation skills will be taught in certificate programs.
On-the-job training is available
On-the-job training is often available in states that don’t have certification requirements. This allows people to learn while they earn.
Your work environment will be clean
Being a healthcare professional can vary depending on your role. Many hands-on roles can be messy. Pharmacy technicians will work in a clean, controlled environment.
You will learn a range of software programs
Pharmacy techs will have to learn a range of software programs. This will be essential for electronic prescriptions. Recording data is another important part of the job.
Having an in-depth knowledge of different software programs is a transferrable skill. It is essential in most workplaces.
Pharmacy technicians will be rewarded for their hard work with a competitive wage. On average, pharmacy techs will earn around $36,740 per year.
The job role is varied
Pharmacy technicians will have lots of job responsibilities. Day-to-day tasks will vary and can help to keep the job interesting.
Flexible work schedules are possible
Some pharmacies might offer more flexible work schedules than others. This can be great for people that want to enjoy a good work-life balance. It can make it easier to spend time with family or arrange events outside of work.
The profession is growing, offering job stability
Certified pharmacy technician roles are projected to keep growing. This means that there is a level of job security for people entering the profession.
Good job progression
There is potential for job progression if you are a pharmacy tech. Potential progression routes include:
- Pharmacy management
- Pharmacy sales
- Pharmacy department management
Job fulfillment is a big part of working in the healthcare industry. You will be in a position to help people when they need it most.
Pharmacy technicians will be responsible for the distribution of medications. They will provide medication instructions and will ensure there are no possible interactions with other medications.
The Cons of Becoming a Pharmacy Technician
Becoming a pharmacy technician might not be for everyone. Looking at the cons of the role will help potential applicants make an informed decision. Some cons of becoming a pharmacy tech include:
Most retail pharmacy positions won’t offer 9-5 roles. Expanded hours to offer customers and patients convenience means longer hours.
Pharmacy positions in hospitals also have long hours. Some working hours may be unusual in comparison to other professions.
Being in a patient-facing role can be challenging at times. You may have to deal with insurance claims and break news about issues with coverage.
Waiting times and high prices can be frustrating. Many people you deal with can also be ill or injured. Alternatively, they may be picking up medication for ill or injured family members.
Customer service and conflict management skills are key to dealing with problem customers.
Education requirements must be met
More often than not, you will have to meet certain education requirements. This may require a great deal of time spent studying and learning before securing a role. However, education requirements will depend on where you are located and the pharmacy itself.
Some states don’t require certification for the role. Individual pharmacies within these states may still ask for these as proof of your suitability.
Pharmacy technician programs can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000. Pharmacy technician associate degree programs will typically cost between $5,000 and $15,000.
The cost of the pharmacy technician certification exam is $129. Recertification costs will then be due every two years after. This can amount to a large sum of money just for training.
Recertification must be carried out every two years. You must complete at least 20 hours of education during the two-year period. The cost of recertification is $35.
It is a demanding role
Pharmacy technicians have many responsibilities within the role. This can be difficult to manage. Other factors, including customer needs and how busy the pharmacy is, can mean you have to multitask.
It is important that all duties are carried out efficiently and accurately, which can quickly become overwhelming for those not prepared for the role.
You may be required to work under pressure
The work of a pharmacy tech can become high-pressured if lots of tasks need to be completed quickly. Busy pharmacies can lead to a backlog of other work.
Making up prescriptions and inputting valuable data requires high levels of concentration. Being able to do this while under pressure is an essential skill.
Is it difficult to become a pharmacy technician?
Becoming a pharmacy technician can be a relatively straightforward task. The applicant can take a number of training and certification courses. This will give them the skills required to perform the job to a high standard.
As this is a job within the health care field, the applicant must be responsible with an eye for detail. Accuracy and data processing skills are essential for this position.
Is being a pharmacy technician hard?
Being a pharmacy tech can be difficult, as it’s a demanding job that requires accuracy and professionalism at all times.
There are many rewarding factors to being a certified pharmacy technician. A successful applicant will be hardworking. They will also discover their suitability while gaining qualifications and completing on-the-job training.
Is being a pharmacy technician a stressful job?
Being a pharmacy technician isn’t inherently a stressful job. However, like all workplaces, there can be stressful moments.
The individual workplace can also lead to stress if there is poor management. Checking workplace review sites like Glassdoor can help you find out more about workplace culture.
The path to becoming a certified pharmacy technician can be relatively straightforward. Some pharmacies only require a high school diploma. In other cases, a formal training program has to be undertaken.
Pharmacy techs work in pharmacies and assist the head pharmacist. Job roles can include administrative tasks and preparing prescription medications.
Labor statistics show that there are great prospects for the role. This makes it a wise choice for people looking for the right career path.
Career advancement is also a good possibility for certified pharmacy technicians.
If you want to become a pharmacist technician, it can be a very rewarding career. Working towards your pharmacy technician certification can also be convenient when training online.