Being a pharmacy technician is a good option for those who want a career change or for those who just graduated from high school. However, in order for you to be allowed to practice this profession, you need to get a certificate. Being a pharmacy technician isn’t just assisting the pharmacists. The responsibilities, of course, depend on where you will be assigned but generally, you need to have knowledge in areas like in medicine and drugs. This is because whenever the pharmacist is not around, you need to know the ins and outs of drug administration.
What does a Pharmacy Technician do?
To put it briefly, the pharmacy technicians assist the licensed pharmacists in their everyday tasks. The tasks of these pharmacy technicians, however, differ with the location they are assigned to. For instance, if a pharmacy technician is assigned to a hospital, most likely his tasks will likely to be more complicated like compounding different drugs or dispensing medicines as compared to smaller companies or pharmacies that will require him to do administrative work like computer data entry or money handling etc.
In some cases, the duties of pharmacy technicians partly cover the duties of those of pharmacy aides that is why it does not come as a surprise that some pharmacy technicians carry out some tasks that are obviously not in their field. Keep in mind however, that it does not work both ways; pharmacy aides may not do the work of the pharmacy technicians.
How can you work as a Pharmacy Technician?
Good organizational skills are just one of the many abilities that a Pharmacy Technician should have. An example of a task that needs good organizational skills is preparing, labeling and categorizing the medicine bottles under various names and groups. Just imagine what can happen if a client bought a 500 ml medicine bottle which was supposed to be just 100ml. Fatalities can result to improper handling of medicines that is why certifications are needed before one can be a pharmacy technician.
For you to become a Pharmacy Technician, you need to take up certification programs. However, before you can start taking the certification programs, the first requirement that you need to have is a high school diploma. When you have your diploma, you can now proceed to taking the certification programs. These certification programs are available in traditional campus certification programs like in colleges, may it be vocation, technical, proprietary or community colleges. You can also find these certification programs online. Usually these programs take around six (6) months to a year before you accomplish them. Some of the subjects included in this program are Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, Pharmacology, Pharmaceutical Law, Dosage Forms and Drug Preparations.
After accomplishing the program, you then have to complete a certification examination. You need to be prepared before taking this examination as this will be an important step towards being a successful professional pharmacy technician. There are many testing locations available for this examination. What is good about this field is that the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or also known as PTCB, will release the certification regardless of where you took the program; of course provided that you pass the examination. After passing the examination, you now have to register to GPhC or General Pharmaceutical Council. After passing the examination and registering at the GPhC, you should now get some experience in working as a Pharmacy Technician. Just like in any other profession, having good credentials will increase your chances of being employed in a higher paying facility.
There are cases, however, that you can get the certification while being employed as a pharmacy technician already. Some facilities allow on-the-job training and then get the certification afterwards. There are pharmacists that allow pharmacy technicians to work and then give them a certain period of time to become certified or in some cases, the employers are the ones who shoulder the cost of accomplishing the certifications.
Different Pharmacy Technician Degrees
If you want to focus your entire career on being a Pharmacy Technician rather than just working as one for a short period of time, being informed about the different Pharmacy Technician degrees you can take up can be very helpful.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates
Usually these certificate programs can be completed in less than a year. This covers the basic skills that a pharmacy technician must know to be able to perform efficiently in a retail or clinical environment. This also helps in prepare the students to take pharmacy certification examinations. Usually, there is no required prior education before students can take this degree other than a high school diploma.
Pharmacy Technician Diploma
Usually students who take this degree already have associate degrees in medical assisting or a related field that can be used to purse the industry of pharmaceutical. Having a medical background, however, is not necessarily required. Having diplomas in this field can also prepare the students in taking the certification examinations.
Pharmacy Technician Associate’s Degrees
Taking the associate degrees can generally take around two (2) years to complete. This provides a deeper pharmaceutical knowledge and a more complex skill set as compared to taking the programs in getting a certificate or a diploma. Pharmacy technicians who take the associate degree are having a relatively broader training scope in the medical field and a more focused pharmacy practice.
Being a Pharmacy Technician is more than just assisting pharmacists. Good organizational skills and a good set of credentials are needed to be able to give out safe medications that will be helpful to a lot of clients.