When people are asking about pharmacy tech schools, one of their biggest questions is this: ‘Should I become a pharmacy technician’? On one hand, you should search around and look into different careers before you settle down on a particular one. On the other hand, that’s a very specific question and if you’re here, then you’ve probably already made your mind up. So, what does it take to become a pharmacy technician? How should you get about the business of starting your career? It’s not as hard as you think, but first you need to know what it entails and where you should be coming.
Understanding the Role of a Pharmacy Technician
A pharmacy technician is an employee who works under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist, and is responsible for the dispensation of medications. They need to be ready and equipped to answer questions asked by patients regarding health or prescription medications. Most often, the role of a pharmacy technician is to fill prescriptions, which means counting, measuring, weighing, pouring, or even mixing medications.
Taking it a step further, you, as a technician, may need to complete insurance claim forms, stock inventory, and even maintain patient profiles. While the technical side of it can be taxing, there is also the fact that pharmacy technicians will need to be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time on their feet which may or may not be agreeable with them. In addition to that, you may spend a lot of time working weekends – be prepared for that.
What Do You Need to Get Started?
The great news, is that you don’t need an advanced degree to jump into a pharmacy technician position. Actually, you only need a high school diploma, and most of the training takes place right on the job. You will however want to consider formal training which results in a certificate – this is required by some employers. If you want to take it a step further then you might think about obtaining an associate’s degree as it will give you an edge over the others who are working their way up the ladder.
Your Path to Becoming a Pharmacy Technician
As with any career, there are steps you will need to take if you want to find yourself in it, eventually. We’re going to go step by step, starting with pharmacy technician programs.
Step 1: Complete a Program
Though there are no formal education requirements for becoming a pharmacy technician, there are many employers that appreciate those who have completed formal training. Programs like ours award a certificate and can last up to two years, depending on the course and the instructors. Students who attend such courses will become familiar with the following:
- Pharmacy Procedure
- Pharmaceutical Terminology
- Pharmacy Law
While you’re still enrolled in a program, you may want to consider participating in an internship. You will be able to work and learn under a technician and get a look at what your future job might be. This is a great way for you to determine whether or not you are a good fit for this career.
Step 2: Study the Requirements
Each state has a different set of requirements and regulations for pharmacy technicians, as you probably already know. This can extend to the number of hours of training required, to the continuing education requirement. It may also affect exam fees – it’s difficult to know until you ask. If you want to become a pharmacy technician, then we strongly recommend reaching out to the state board for answers.
Step 3: Pursue your Certification
Not all states require certification, as we mentioned before, but voluntary certification is always a good idea. If you want to take it further, as we said, think about obtaining an associate’s degree or higher.
Becoming a pharmacy technician is nowhere near as difficult as becoming a pharmacist proper, and it is definitely something that you should consider. Start looking at the different pharmacy technician requirements and determine whether or not you will in fact be able to meet them. Your career might seem a long way off, but it could be right around the corner.
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