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Pharmacy Technician Career Advice

If you are deciding whether a pharmacy technician job is right for you, then this article will help point out why you should go for it. You can either make pharmacy technician a career or use it as a stepping stone to get into another healthcare career. Either way, pharmacy technician is a good entry option for obtaining a career in healthcare.

Career, pharmacy technician is a good career option. It is relatively easy to get in to, most states require very little to become a pharmacy technician and the most difficult states require only two semesters of education. Healthcare is a necessary industry, it isn’t like people are about to stop using medications anytime soon. Pay is pretty good, it tops out at about $18-20/hour in most states (about $40 thousand/year). If you stay in the field, there are pharmacy technicians that get between $20 to $30/hour for specializing or taking on higher level tasks (eg, pharmacy buyer of a large inpatient hospital pharmacy). There are a lot of career options as a pharmacy technician. You can work in retail pharmacies all across the country, majority of hospital pharmacies employee technicians for drug distribution in the hospital. Home care, long-term care, and mail order are other types of pharmacies that employ pharmacy techs. Finally, you can be a pharmacy technician just about anywhere. This of course is because you can find a pharmacy just about anywhere.

Stepping stone, many healthcare positions have to know about medication. This makes being a pharmacy technician and obtaining a good knowledge about medications a great stepping stone job for most healthcare careers. Besides obtaining knowledge about medications, there are many pharmacy technician positions that can work weekends, evenings, and graveyards. This makes it possible to earn enough to live on while attending college full-time. Let’s look at a few of the key careers that benefit from having a pharmacy technician training first. Pharmacist, this of course is the road I took. I was a pharmacy tech for over 8 years before starting pharmacy school. I really enjoyed being a pharmacy technician and the field of pharmacy. One of my pharmacists recommended I go to pharmacy school. So I did, and in pharmacy school I found that my experience as a pharmacy technician gave me an advantage over those who weren’t. When we were learning medications, I already had the generic, brand, and drug class down. This meant that I could focus on learning the details of each drug versus some of my classmates who needed to study the names of the medications. Medical doctor, I know a couple of technicians that went on to medical school. The same principles apply as to pharmacy school. As a doctor, you need to know about medications and how much of a bonus would it be to already know the drugs and classes. Nurse, many pharmacy technicians go on to nursing school. Having a good working knowledge about medications as a nurse is a fundamental skill. To start off with that knowledge before even starting nursing school is great.

The best part about pharmacy technician being a stepping stone is that it makes way for new technicians to take their place. This means that pharmacy technician is a career field that always has openings. Because of this group of technicians who will eventually leave their position as they transition to a new career, we will always have a need for seasoned pharmacy techs to train, manage, and be the anchor for out technician work force. Being this anchor comes with the benefit if higher wages and job satisfaction. In the end, whether planned or not, pharmacy technician is a great place to start. To maximize your chances of getting a job, check out my article on 3 strategies for getting a job.

Published at ezinearticles.com on 10/15/2010


Pharmacy Technician Job Help

As I searched on EzineArticles for pharmacy technician jobs, I found many good articles written on how to become a pharmacy technician, or various reasons why you should become a pharmacy technician. In general, they all make good points and provide useful information. It has made me think about what we are missing. I do not want to simply rehash the same topics and then add a few of my own thoughts. Then it occurred to me, I have a perspective that few people who are writing articles for pharmacy technicians have. I am the person who sits on every interview for pharmacy technicians in my institution’s inpatient pharmacy. Over the course of just one year, I probably interview about 50 to 60 technicians for about 10 to 12 openings. So here it is, what are three things you can do to get a job when you have just obtained your license/certification/registration (depends on your state), still working on your license, or maybe just moved to a new area and want to find a job (this happened to me as a pharmacy tech, and I will share one of my biggest mistakes when looking for a job)?
1. Volunteer or complete your required hours (depends on your state requirements for licensure/certification) in a pharmacy practice site you would like to work. Many states require you to obtain practice hours before you become a pharmacy technician. If your state does not require hours prior to becoming a pharmacy technician, then pick a set number of hours (40 to 80 hours should do it) and volunteer at a pharmacy. The pharmacy you choose should be a place you would like to work. If you know you want to work in a hospital pharmacy, then do not obtain your hours or volunteer at a community/retail pharmacy. Next, take advantage of this time by showing your practice site how good of a pharmacy technician you are. The traits I look for the most are someone who is a team player, proactive about taking on any work that he/she sees needs completing, and gets a long with other staff. I am looking for is a good fit, not necessarily the smartest tech, but the one who will be a good team member. What this time really amounts to is a trial period where the pharmacy gets to see how you work and you get to see if you really want a job there. I have had a few students who goof off or text for a large portion of their time in my pharmacy. Unfortunately, they will not even make the interview list for the next open position.
2. Obtain national certification, BLS/CPR, and be active in one of your state’s pharmacy organizations; and make sure you have these items on your resume. Regardless if your state requires you to get nationally certified or not, you should do it. The two major national certifications that are most recognized are the PTCB and the ExCPT. BLS/CPR (basic life support/cardiopulmonary resuscitation – for the most part it is the same thing) is a good additional skill that most pharmacy managers will consider a bonus. It tells them that the applicant is engaged in healthcare and will more likely be engaged as a pharmacy technician. State pharmacy organization (either the state ASHP affiliate or APhA affiliate) participation is another way to show your commitment to the pharmacy profession. In most states, it cost very little to be a member as a technician. Once you are a member, look for the Website link on joining a committee. If you have options, join the committee that sounds like the most fun (I personally like advocacy or legislative). Now be active in your committee, this is a great way to network with pharmacists and other technicians. Pharmacy is a small world, the more connections you make, the better off you will be. Once you have done some or all of this, make sure your update you resume.
3. Look on company Websites for job openings and not just the local newspaper or online newspaper site. This was my big mistake. After living on the east coast for many years I moved out to the west coast. I began looking for jobs in the local newspaper and there were a few, but not the ones I was most interested in (I was a sterile compounding tech and wanted to work in a hospital or IV infusion setting) were never open. Fortunately for me, a large health-system (the one I currently still work for after 11 years) was hiring a graveyard technician and didn’t get enough applicants from their internal site so they placed a newspaper ad. After I got a job, I found out about the company job postings Website, and I was seriously bummed that I had wasted months not looking in the right place. While you are on the company Website, do some homework about the company so that you can speak about the company during your interview. I will typically ask applicants why they want a job with my company or pharmacy, if you can respond with an answer that shows you have done some homework on the company, which will impress most interviewers (do not over do it or be cheesy, find something you genuinely like about the company).

Published at ezinearticles.com on 10/7/2010


How to become a Pharmacy Technician:

Pharmacy Technician Help1st, determine what your state requires (every state is different) – Pharmacy Tech State Info page (this page details each state’s requirements to become a pharmacy technician and provides a list of schools for each state)

2nd, regardless of your state requirements, obtain national certification – Pharmacy Technician National Certification Information page

3rd, read “Become a Pharmacy Technician and Land a Job” – You can obtain a free copy by signing up for the newsletter and eBook via the Sign-Up form to the right.

4th, as you go through the process of becoming a pharmacy technician, you need to determine the pharmacy setting you want to work in – Description of what a pharmacy technician does by practice site

5th, JUST DO IT! If you need a school, request information on schools and start checking them out. Go visit them (unless it is online of course). If you need national certification, then get a book and start studying. The sooner you take action, the sooner you can get going on a career.

I (Rob) was a pharmacy technician for 8 years prior to going to pharmacy school. When I specialized (through pharmacy residency) in pharmacy management, I spent a lot of time working on a pharmacy technician development program for the health-system I work in. In my current role as a pharmacy director, I have had the opportunity to lead and coach numerous pharmacy technicians, including the hiring of technicians.

My goal is to help as many people as I can become pharmacy technicians and actually land a job after you are done. In many areas of the US, pharmacy technician positions are very competitive, I will explain how to maximize your chances for obtaining a job by sharing how I determine who to hire in my inpatient pharmacy.

I am also compiling useful resources for you on the Resources/Links page.

-Rob Nahoopii, PharmD, MS, BCPS (and previous CPhT pharmacy technician for 8 years)