A pharmacy technician is a healthcare worker. Such a technician assists a licensed pharmacist in performing various duties such as labeling medicine bottles, helping patients, filling prescriptions, instructing patients on how to use the medicines, etc. A pharmacy tech in the United States needs to be certified to be able to practice. The certification is also helpful in that it helps the technician gain a sound understanding of the responsibilities that the job entails. The certification also places the individual in an advantageous position as far as the career graph and salary are concerned. This article provides some primary information on pharmacy technician requirements: prerequisites for enrolling into a course, elements of the course, etc.
The basic criteria that a pharmacy tech aspirant must satisfy to enroll into a course are as follows:The applicant must be at least 18 years of age.The candidate should have a high-school diploma, GED, or equivalent qualification if from outside the United States.The candidate should be clear of any criminal record from five years prior to the date of application. The application will be rejected in case the aspirant has ever been convicted in a case of drug-related felony.
It is a good idea to enroll for the certification course in an institution that has a good reputation within the industry and is well-respected in terms of the contents of the course. Ensure that the accreditation is valid and you are aware of the length of the certification program. For those with an already busy schedule, online pharmacy technician courses are available.
The courses usually include subjects related to pharmaceuticals: terminology; record-keeping; calculations; etc., medical studies, computer skills and customer service. A majority of the popular certification programs extend from six months to a year. The skills required to run a pharmacy, pharmaceutical procedures and awareness, and knowledge in handing out correct drug dosages, etc., are taught in the course. Some of the pharmacy technician training programs also offer internships in real pharmacies for hands-on experience. The internships are designed to help the candidate gain confidence and adapt to the real world situations quickly. The courses also help the student to prepare for the certification examinations conducted by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and Institute of Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT).
The standard requirements for certification and licensing also depend on the state in which the candidate decides to work in. There are certain industrial sectors where the need for pharmacy technician certification is imperative. A pharmacy technician is also expected to have completed at least 10 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain the validity of the certification. Out of these 10 hours, at least one hour is required to be spent for the subject of pharmaceutical law. Whereas some states do not have certification requirements, voluntary certification is available for candidates through ICPT and PCTB. In case the candidate is already employed, some employers also reimburse the cost of the examinations.
On certification, pharmacy techs can procure a job in a hospital, a health care institution, or a retail setting. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted a faster than average growth of the employment prospects of pharmacy technicians. The employment for these professionals is expected to rise as much as 31% between the years 2008 and 2018. More technicians are required in view of the increasing numbers of the elderly and increased used of prescription drugs by people. There is also a predicted increase in the span of duties performed by the pharmacy technicians.
Earnings are variable. Techs that are employed in hospitals and other specialized locations earn more than those who are employed in retail or a health care setting. A pharmacy technician employed in a good hospital earns about $13 an hour. In a health care facility, the technician would earn $10.50 per hour as wages.
Certification means a higher pay and a certificate can put the candidate in the right spot to move ahead in the career than a non-certified candidate. The pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors are seeing a fast growth and jobs are becoming increasingly competitive. Some techs with sufficient experience return back to school to go on and qualify as licensed pharmacists. Therefore, it pays to fulfill the standard requirements to take advantage of the employment positions that are available.