From coast to coast: the exciting world of the travel pharmacy technician (and how much they get paid)
A travel pharmacy technician has all the same duties that any pharmacy technician has. The major difference is that they travel from pharmacy to pharmacy, depending on the staffing needs. A travel pharmacy tech coaches pharmacy technicians that are just starting out, and helps out where it’s needed.
These positions are typically short-term positions and can last for a few weeks up to a few months. A travel pharmacy technician may work for the same chain of pharmacies in different states. They also have the option of working with an agency to connect with different pharmacies.
It is no easy job. traveling techs must plan their travel career multiple assignments way in advance, be familiar with different pharmacy systems, and have relationships with a variety of pharmacy network providers.
In this article, we will look at the salary of traveling pharmacy techs.
How Much Do Traveling Pharmacy Technicians Make?
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technicians earn an annual average salary of $36,740.
The employment market for pharmacy techs is projected to increase by 5% between 2021 and 2031. With about 43,500 job openings every year, this rate is as fast as the average rate for all occupations.
Pharmacy technicians earn more money working in a hospital setting than anywhere else. The average salary for hospital pharmacists is $38,270. The average salary in food and beverage stores is $36 090, while the average salary for pharmacists working in pharmacies and drug stores is $35 940.
There is the possibility of earning much more – the hourly wage varies by state. There is also the fact that there are different bonuses, commissions, and benefits attached to different companies.
This means that there is the potential to earn more money by working in high-paying states. Most companies provide housing for their traveling pharmacy technicians. There is also typically reimbursement for food and transport – and a welcome pay bump due to the need for staff.
Most contracts are between 6 and 15 weeks long. You can request to stay at the same facility if you enjoy it.
How to Become a Traveling Pharmacy Technician
Training to be a pharmacy technician doesn’t require as rigorous training as it does for pharmacists.
While many pharmacy technicians take certificate programs, they don’t have to. Taking a postsecondary education program or getting a postsecondary degree boosts your skills and knowledge, but isn’t a necessity.
Most pharmacy technicians learn from work experience or on-the-job training. Becoming a pharmacy technician is a great first step toward becoming a pharmacist. It’s also a great way to fast-track your way into working in pharmacy services.
If you’re still in high school, consider taking biology and chemistry courses. These courses will come in handy for a career in pharmacy. It will also be beneficial to take part in programs related to this career. Consider shadowing a pharmacy technician on the job as well.
You must have your high school diploma or the equivalent on-the-job training to qualify to be a pharmacy technician. It’s mandatory to have one or the other.
Once you’ve met the minimum requirements, you can take a certificate program for pharmacy technician training. Some certificate programs include training in a pharmacy. Certificate programs take less time than getting a degree.
Working in a pharmacy and getting hands-on experience will help you to understand pharmacy systems, including how desktop pharmacy network audits work, learning about patient and drug information, and interacting with pharmacy network providers – key skills for a traveling tech.
An associate’s degree is another route to consider. Getting an associate’s degree can take up to two years to complete. This often includes practical work like an internship with students, who take their Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) afterwards.
Pharmacy technicians usually take their certification exam and get certified through a board – either the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). The PTCB is more widely recognized than the NHA.
A certified pharmacy technician has been recognized as competent by a qualified board. These credentials aren’t necessary to work as a pharmacy technician in every state.
The different requirements that pharmacy technicians need to meet to practice differ from state to state. Some states require their pharmacy technicians to be certified before they can practice. Some states only require that you be licensed. Other states only require that they take exams, have continuing education, and pass background checks.
If you choose to work with an agency, which is an easier way to find job openings, they may require at least six months of work experience. Some agencies actually require that you have two years of previous pharmacy experience.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Becoming a Travel Pharmacy Technician
As with any job or position, there are pros and cons attached to being a travel pharmacy technician. It’s important to weigh the two against each other before you come to a decision.
Of course, if you do try it and don’t enjoy it, you can go back to being a pharmacy technician in one location.
Since you get to decide which travel assignments you will or won’t take, you can decide when you want to vacation. You can prevent burnout by taking more breaks than you would be able to by staying in one place.
As previously mentioned, travel positions sometimes come with significant pay bumps. That’s usually dependent on how much they need the staff where you’re going. There are also stipends for meals and housing included on top of the regular pay.
You can pick up new skills and techniques from working in different healthcare facilities. You might also have access to specialized training programs.
The experience you gain from working in other pharmacies and hospitals can also help you if you decide on a more permanent role somewhere. It can boost your resume, especially if you pick up skills and certifications.
Ability to travel
The biggest advantage is that you get to travel the country and see different places. You can choose which areas you’d like to travel to and how long you stay there.
Moving from pharmacy to pharmacy will give you the opportunity to meet more people that can help you advance your career.
While traveling is fun and exciting, the novelty can wear off quickly. It can be exhausting and costly to make travel arrangements so often. You will have to carefully plan future travel career multiple assignments to ensure you meet all the deadlines and have enough rest days too.
Lack of stability
The nature of this position means that you won’t have a permanent home. It also means you’ll often be far from those you love, depending on where you’re stationed.
You’ll essentially have to uproot your life every few weeks or so, to have this job. This can make it hard to maintain relationships with family and friends. It can also make it difficult to have a social life.
Do I need to have a license in every state?
This is dependent on the regulations of that state, so make sure you check on the state you wish to go to.
Some states just require that you are a certified pharmacy technician. This means that you are nationally certified by one of the recognized boards. Some states are fine if you have a valid pharmacy technician license in any state.
Some states require that you have a state license. Other states might require you to have both a state license and national certification.
Do they need travel pharmacy technicians in hospitals?
There are positions for travel pharmacy techs in a hospital pharmacy setting as well. It depends on the specific job you’re looking at, but generally, they might require that you have previous pharmacy experience in a hospital setting.
Skills like sterile compounding and IV distribution may make your resume more appealing to hospitals.
Looking at travel pharmacy technician jobs is a great idea if you want a career in pharmacy that allows you to travel. The salary prospects are just as good, if not better than they are for regular pharmacy technicians.