As most people know, a health care related career is some of the most important work a person can do. Whether a doctor, a nurse, or a pharmacist or pharmacy technician, health care workers strive to keep people healthy. And what could be more important than that?
For those looking into a health care career, the position of Pharmacy Technician may appeal to you. Depending on the workplace, a Pharmacy Technician has a variety of duties and responsibilities, from counting out pills to corresponding with customers, and each duty is important. Even routine tasks, such as labeling bottles, can be of life-or-death importance– as, of course, it’s imperative that patients are given the correct medications in the correct doses.
The hourly earnings of a Pharmacy Technician also vary from workplace to workplace. Pharmacy Techs who earn the most generally work in hospitals, where they earn an average of $13 hourly. The lowest-earning Pharmacy Technicians work in health or personal care stores, with about a $10.50 hourly wage. Obviously, where you choose to work as a Pharmacy Technician matters. And because hospitals and other highly specialized locations pay best, they also look for the best Technicians– that is, Pharmacy Techs with certification.
Training to Be a Pharmacy Technician
While some smaller drug stores, etc., simply provide on-the-job training to untrained Pharmacy Technicians, most higher-paying locations look for Pharmacy Technicians with formal training and certification. To obtain this, most aspiring Pharmacy Techs attend online or classroom training courses. When choosing a Pharmacy Tech course, there are several things to keep in mind, such as length of course, depth of subject matter, and quality of the course (accreditation).
How Long Will it Take?
Most Pharmacy Technician training courses run from about six months to a year, depending on the course. In that time, you will learn the skills required to operate a pharmacy, follow correct pharmaceutical procedures, provide the correct drug dosages, and assist the pharmacist in administrative tasks. This course also helps to prepare you for your PTCB (Pharmacy Technician Certification Board) exam or ExCPT (Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians).
While there are very few current federal and state laws governing the need for Pharmacy Tech certification, having a PTCB or ExCPT certification is becoming the standard. Passing one or more of these examinations is of key importance.
What if I Need to Finish Faster?
If you don’t have the six months to a year it takes to complete a Pharmacy Tech training course, there are several options available. As the certification is more important to potential employers than the formal training, you can choose to focus your time on studying for the test. You can do this either by studying the test materials, or taking one of the variety of short “crash course” cramming sessions offered by some schools. Most of these courses are from a few hours to several days, and are designed to give you all the information you need to pass you PTCB or ExCPT exams.