A great question I received via email that is worth sharing!
I just wanted to take a minute to say thanks for writing this site/blog. I was browsing a local university course listing and saw the pharm tech course and then did some digging and found your site. There’s SO much info and details, I feel so overwhelmed and have a TON of questions. I value sites like yours because its basically, what you see is what you get.
I’m currently in the IT field and although making decent money, I’m looking to switch careers.. Money isn’t everything, but as with most people, I need to see if this career change will benefit me emotionally as well as financially before making this commitment, (its quite terrifying actually). Doing a search on salary, I see it was around 27k. Without knowing exactly what you make, but with your experience, is it achievable to double that amount?
Are you open to questions? If I decided that perhaps I wanted to pursue a career as a pharmacist, what additional education would I need?
Rob, Thank you again. I know you must get hundreds of emails so I appreciate the time.
First, thank you T for the great positive feedback. It is emails and comments like this that keep me going. Here is my reply:
Great question. The pharmacy profession needs more pharmacy technicians and pharmacists who have an IT background. We are constantly adding more and more automation and IT to our processes for running a pharmacy.
For you, if you do decide to go into pharmacy, do your best to get a job in the biggest health-system in your area (not-for-profit if you can). That is what I work in, a 22 hospital not-for profit health system. The reason is that they will most likely have pharmacy staff in pharmacy/IT positions. In all of our large hospital (more than 250 beds), we have automation and database technicians. For my health system, they are all level III techs (pay range is $35K to $50K). In addition, we have corporate and IT staffed pharmacy techs who make even more (they are hitting your target to $54K plus). On the flip side, you will need to put in some time to gain the experience and timing to land one of these higher level jobs. I can tell you from years of experience, staff with both skill sets are hard to come by so we have to grow our own.
In addition, if you can program, there are an infinite amount of opportunities to create new products and services for pharmacies. If you decide to go to pharmacy school, you can complete residencies after pharmacy school that are called “Informatics Residencies,: where you can learn from fellow IT/pharmacy types on how to leverage both skill sets.
For pharmacy school, it is quite a bit of college level classes. If you are planning a pharmacy tech program, those credits do not transfer. This is a serious commitment. You will need to complete all of your bachelors degree requirements (generals), and typically the following: 2 semesters of – General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Calculus, Physics, and 1 semester of- Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Technical Writing, Microbiology. This may differ by university, so check out a University you are interested in and see if they have a pharmacy school. They will typically list their prerequisites.
Best of Luck, Rob