A pharmacy technician job can be a doorway to the medical field, and offer you plenty of opportunities to excel in the ever-growing medical field. Pharmacy techs assist the pharmacist in measuring medications, printing labels, working with customers, and more. This rewarding career opportunity takes as little as two years to obtain a certification, and you can get started working right away.
You can work in a retail pharmacy, or, if you prefer, there are other options such as nursing home or hospice care centers. Your certification will offer you plenty of flexibility as well as a good starting salary with benefits (in most cases). So, what does it take to become a pharmacy tech and get started in the field?
Pharmacy technician training programs are offered at community colleges, universities, and certification programs all over the country. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to do in order to start working as a pharmacy technician.
Find A Certification Program
The first step you’ll need to take it to find a certification program. There are programs that exist solely online, or you can choose a local university or community college. Depending on the program, you can become certified in under a year, or closer to two years. It all depends on the program, the school you choose, and how much time you have to dedicate to obtaining your certification.
Some retail pharmacies also offer pharmacy tech training, but this is usually reserved for employees of the company. If you already work at a chain like Walgreens, you might have access to pharmacy tech training and not even know it! Check with your employer to see if there are any programs available to current employees.
Be sure to pay close attention to what you’re paying for your certification. Some colleges cost more than others, and you wouldn’t want to end up paying more for the same exact certification; unless you absolutely want to have your certification from a specific university.
There are thousands of programs available on and offline, so it’s just a matter of doing your research and finding the program that can fit both your budget and your schedule.
Know The Details of Your Position
When you’re applying for any position, you should go into the interview armed with plenty of knowledge about the responsibilities it entails. This means reading carefully through the job description and writing down any questions you might have for your interviewer.
While you might understand the basic role of a pharmacy technician, depending on the environment you’re working in, the role can change. If you’re working in a nursing home, you’ll have to follow different guidelines and might have extra responsibilities. In a retail setting, you’ll likely be required to operate the cash register and provide customer service alongside your pharmaceutical responsibilities.
Bringing questions and an understanding of your position is also an excellent tip for nailing an interview. A potential employer will look fondly on a candidate that’s done their research and worked to understand the job’s responsibilities.
Remember That Pharmacy Tech Is An Entry-Level Position
While you’ll potentially get access to a benefits package and a good salary to start, it’s still important to understand that the pharmacy tech role is considered an entry-level position. What does this mean for you? The potential to advance as you excel in your job.
You’ll gain practical experience in a pharmacy setting and will have the opportunity to advance as you continue your education (if you so choose). Some people are happy with just being a pharmacy tech, and that’s fine, too! Helping people get their much-needed prescriptions can be very rewarding.
You’ll also get a certain level of job security in the medical field. There will always be the need for certified medical professionals, as the healthcare industry continues to grow and shows no signs of slowing.
Check With Your Employer
Experience is always beneficial when you’re searching for a job. You might find that once you have a certification, you still have trouble getting a pharmacy tech position without experience.
If you work for a retail store that has a pharmacy, check with your employer to see if they offer a certification program. Some workplaces may also allow you to volunteer in the pharmacy performing mundane tasks (as you can’t handle medication without the certification) in order to gain some level of experience.
This can be incredibly beneficial when looking for a position. Unfortunately, sometimes the certification isn’t enough by itself.
Becoming a pharmacy technician offers a rewarding career path for anyone looking to get into the medical field or switch up their career path. The certification doesn’t take as much time as a full-fledged degree, and you can get started working just about anywhere in the country. You’ll also have access to benefits and a good salary in most cases, making this position a great entry-level medical job!