Are you thinking about a career as a pharmacy technician? This growing career field allows you to assist in pharmacy operations while ensuring patients and customers receive the medications they need. To understand this career path more thoroughly, and whether it may be right for you, we’ve outlined seven key facts you need to know to get started.
1. What does a pharmacy technician do?
The role of a pharmacy technician can vary widely depending on the organization you work for and the state you work in, but your primary role will be to support licensed pharmacists. Some of the more common responsibilities of pharmacy technicians include answering patient questions in person and via phone, contacting physicians for refill permissions, taking inventory and categorizing medications, entering data into computer systems, measuring, mixing, and preparing medications under the supervision of a pharmacist, reviewing prescriptions for accuracy, and packaging drugs and medical supplies.
2. What type of salary do pharmacy technicians earn in California’s Central Valley?
Labor market analytics firm, Burning Glass Technologies, reports that pharmacy technicians in Stanislaus County earn an annual median salary of $31,364. This is in line with the average for the United States. However, the top 10 percent of pharmacy technicians earn nearly $47,000 per year according to the Pharmacy Report1, but this salary will vary depending on where you are located.
3. Are there jobs for pharmacy technicians in Stanislaus County?
Yes! The job growth for pharmacy technicians is expected to be good. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates jobs to grow by four percent through 2029 nationwide, Burning Glass Technologies projects 14% job growth over the next decade in Stanislaus County.
A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association and re-published by The Washington Post2 stated that prescription drug usage is on the rise. It has increased eight percent in just 12 years, and nearly 60 percent of Americans age 20 and older now take some type of prescription drug. During that same 12-year period, the percentage of people who are taking five or more prescription medications nearly doubled—all lending to increased demand for pharmacy professionals like pharmacy technicians.
4. Where do pharmacy technicians work?
Most pharmacy technicians will go to work for retail pharmacies such as CVS or Walgreens; however, many other types of organizations employ pharmacy technicians. For example, you could work in a hospital or nursing home but may require some additional specialized medical knowledge that will likely be provided on the job. You could also work for a mail-order prescription service where you pack and ship medications to patients. In the Central Valley, the top employers hiring pharmacy technicians are CVS Health, Walgreens, Tenet Health System and Anthem Blue Cross.
5. What education do I need to become a pharmacy technician?
To become a pharmacy technician, you will need to complete a pharmacy technician training course either online or in a classroom setting. Many states also require Pharmacy Technicians to be certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) after passing the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam. It’s important to know the specific requirements in California before beginning a program if you plan to work in this state. You also may be able to gain valuable experience through real-world situations with a pharmacy externship before beginning your official career.
6. How long does it take to become a pharmacy technician?
Our pharmacy technician career training course can be completed entirely online in just 12 months or less. In addition, you may be able to complete a 100-hour externship, if you qualify, and prepare to sit for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board.
7. What other jobs can a pharmacy technician do?
Becoming a pharmacy technician is a great lifelong career, but it can also open the door to a lot of other opportunities. You can climb the ladder within your organization and may even find yourself supervising pharmacy assistants or other pharmacy technicians. After gaining some experience as a pharmacy technician, you may decide that you want to go back to school to become a pharmacist. Your experience will also prove valuable for a career in pharmaceutical sales. Or, this could be the beginning of a career in another healthcare field, after some additional training, such as a medical assistant or patient care technician. There really is no limit to what you can achieve.
Interested in starting a career as a pharmacy technician? Our Online Pharmacy Technician training course will help you get certified in a year or less.