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If you’re interested in working in the pharmacological field, earning a pharmacy technology degree could be the right path for you. Pharmacy Technicians perform tasks under the direction of a pharmacist, which can include: compounding, preparing, labeling and dispensing of drugs used to fill prescription or medication orders to a person or for a facility to administer to a patient. They are employed at drug stores, grocery stores, and hospitals. People who are detail-oriented, organized, and personable thrive as pharmacy technicians.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) presents a positive outlook for pharmacy technicians. Job growth is about as fast as the average for all occupations. The median pay for pharmacy technicians as of 2020 is about $35,000 per year, with opportunities to advance your career in the medical field.
Here are the steps you should take if you want to begin a career in pharmacy.
Get Your Pharmacy Degree
The first step for an aspiring pharmacy technician is to complete a two-year associate degree. This optional postsecondary program gives you an edge over other applicants when the time comes to apply for a job. A combination of classroom lectures and hands-on learning is the best way to earn a well-rounded education.
Complete On-the-Job Training
You can gain clinical experience in several ways. One is to complete externship training, which provides invaluable experiential hours in both community and hospital settings. Externship programs are made possible by partnerships between pharmacies and colleges. Another option is to find an approved retail drugstore or medical center yourself that will provide hands-on training after you finish your pharmacy degree.
Depending on what state you want to work in, you may be required to become certified. Even in states where certification is not mandatory, most employers only hire pharmacy techs who are certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Health career Association (NHA).
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Certification may make it easier to get a job. Many employers of pharmacy technicians will pay for employees to take the certification exam. Requirements for pharmacy technicians in the states that regulate them typically include some or all of the following:
- High school diploma or GED
- Formal education or training program
- Continuing education
- Criminal background check
As with other medical professionals, pharmacy techs must pass a recertification exam administered by the PTCB or NHA every two years. A small fee and at least 20 hours of continuing education are required to sit for the exam. Approved continuing education activities include conferences, workshops, seminars, college classes, and service to credentialing agencies. You’ll need to document and submit your continuing education for verification, so keep careful track of the hours you complete.
Choose a Specialty
Whether before or after being hired as a pharmacy technician, you may want to complete specialized training. You can add this to your resume to help you stand out from other applicants when applying for new jobs. Specialties may include Community Pharmacy Technician, Central Pharmacy Operations Technician, or similar roles.
Earn Your Pharmacy Degree at ASA College
ASA College offers a Pharmacy Technology Associate Degree Program from our campus locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan. This program is recognized by the PTCB, helping you pave the way to your dream career. Upon completing your degree, you’ll have the competencies and knowledge required to succeed as an entry-level pharmacy technician. If you’re ready to get started, please call ASA College at 866-990-6148 or visit our website.
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