There’s plenty of opportunity out there for those interested in learning how to become a pharmacy technician. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities are expected to grow 32 percent through 2020.
With an increasing aging population and new drugs always coming on the market, the need for qualified pharmacy techs is growing rapidly. Job prospects will be excellent for new techs for much of the next decade.
Jobs are expected to be readily available to those who obtain the proper training. This means a combination of proper schooling and national, industry-recognized credentials.
School: On-the-job training used to be enough to learn how to become a pharmacy technician. However, with a growing need for technicians, employers want to ensure the people they hire are prepared for a career as a technician.
Classes are available online and on campuses throughout the country. Most technicians enroll in a certificate program, which usually takes between three and eight months to complete.
National Certification: After completing school, the next step is obtaining industry-recognized certification. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board is a national organization that certifies techs through an exam process. The certification is recognized by hospitals, pharmacies and drug stores – the primary employers of pharmacy technicians.
The PTCB exam is comprised of 90 multiple choice questions and candidates have 110 minutes to complete the test. Only 80 of the 90 questions will actually be graded – the other ten are pilot questions that may be implemented in later tests.
Upon passage of the exam, technicians will be eligible to work in pharmacies throughout the country.
The First Step
When learning how to become a pharmacy technician, finding a good school is imperative. There are plenty of considerations to take into account. Here are a few of the most important ones.
- Accreditation: You’ll want to make sure the school you choose is accredited. It should say right on the institutions website whet agency the school gained accreditation from. An accredited school will be able to adequately prepare students for a career as a pharmacy technician.
- Flexible Schedule: If you have a full-time day job or other obligations, you’ll want to choose an educational program with a flexible schedule. Many schools offer classes online, which will allow students to complete coursework on their own time.
- Financing: Cost is another important consideration when it comes to choosing a school. Schools that offer scholarships and grant programs are a great option that can help you pick up some of the tuition costs. Loans may also be an option.
The Work Environment
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technicians earn roughly $13.65 and hour. Most technicians work in hospitals, drug stores and pharmacies. most of their workday is spent standing.
To be successful, technicians must be able to work well with customers, patients and the licensed pharmacist on duty. Technicians support the pharmacist and perform a number of administrative and organizational tasks.
Learning how to become a pharmacy technician can open a lot of doors into a new and rewarding career in the medical profession.
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