Recent Q&A by email worth Sharing
Here is a recent question I received that had some good discussion: Hello Rob, I live in CA and I was wondering what you think the outlook is for pharmacy tech. I hear that the outlook is good but when I look at the job boards, I see nothing in my area at all. I am thinking of going to school for pharmacy tech or dental assistant. I am having a tough time deciding. On my resume I have prior experience about 6 years ago being an assistant manager for two retail stores and I also have waitress experience, will that help me get a job at all? In order to pay bills, I am hoping to get around 14-15 an hour when I finish school. Do you think that is possible? I am doing the schooling through a regional occupational program through the city (R.O.P) and it is accredited. I think this will be a better option then going to a community college because they actually help you get a job. They help with your resume and that sort of stuff. I will also have my Associate’s of science from the local community college by the time I am done with the schooling. The only other deciding factor is that I do have a medical condition. I am wondering about working late hours as a pharmacy tech, I don’t think I could do it. I think it would be too hard on my body. Please help and thank you for your opinion!
Answer: Prior experience does help you get a job, especially when it is in management. At least I like to believe that the person will be a better employee having been in charge of employees in the past. How much your employer will give you for experience pay based on that is a little less standard. My company only gives experience for very related positions, in this case pharmacy experience. For the $14-15/hour, it is possible but not likely. At my hospital pharmacy you could get there in 6 months, but it really depends on your companies set up. My techs start at about $11.25/hr. As soon as they are hired they can take the tech Level I exam and if they pass they get a 10% pay increase. They can then study for the Tech Level II exam, and if they pass they get another 10% raise. So a new tech could be at $13.61 in about 6 months. Annual increases have typically been 3%, so this person would be at $14.02 in about a year (depends when in the year they start relative to raises.
As for the medical condition. You do need to take care of yourself, but the better paying jobs are in hospital. Some retail positions can pay well, but typically when you get into supervisor duties or lead tech duties. However, retail pharmacies have better hours (except for your 24 hour ones of course). I do think hospital pharmacy will be less stress on you compared to retail. In the end, you need to make this decision on what is best for you.
For jobs, have you tried bestjobsearchwebsite.com? If you search for pharmacy technician and your zip-code, you should get a pretty good list of jobs near you. If you do not get much, then you may live in a saturated job market.
Response: Thank you so much for your advice, that helped a lot! I looked at the job board you gave me and saw a lot more jobs then monster.com. I decided I am going to do the pharmacy tech program and still continue some classes at the local JC. Thank you for you help again!
Here is another question I recently received: I reside in Georgia and am trying to become a pharmacy technician. I do not know whether or not I want to continue afterwards to become a pharmacist, though. Isn’t it true to become pharmacy technician in Georgia all you need is a certification? I thought it would be smart to enroll in a school so I could do an externship to get some practice. Knowing this information, do you think I should I enroll in a certification program or a degree program?
Also, if I decide to move out of Georgia how easy will it be to transfer?
Answer: You are right, national certification is sufficient for Georgia. If you do move to a state that requires formal training, it is likely that formal training you complete in Georgia will not be on their approved list, so I would say to just get your PTCB. If you struggle landing a job, then I would consider volunteering to gain some experience. If you do want to complete formal training and do an externship, Career Step is a pretty good option right now with their externship program and online course you can get it done in a few months if you hit it hard. You can learn more about Career Step on the Career Step page.
Reply: Thank you for your feedback. Would you recommend making pharmacy technology a career?
Reply Answer: That is a tough question. It really depends on what you are up for. If you know you do not want to go to college (or cannot go due to circumstances, and there are many) for a bachelors degree or higher, then yes I think it provides good opportunity for career minded technicians. If you are game to go to college, then I would consider something with more pay potential and in an area you like. If you are going to do it as a career, I do recommend trying to get into a large hospital or health-system that will offer many higher level job opportunities. Best of luck,