22 Reasons to Become a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians (also known as pharmacy techs) are an integral part of any pharmacy team. You’ve probably already seen these allied healthcare professionals working alongside pharmacists in retail locations, but they can also be found in hospitals and long-term care facility pharmacies.
Pharmacy techs are responsible for filling prescriptions, organizing inventory, processing insurance claims/payments, and working with customers to ensure they understand their medications and their instructions.
Why is being a pharmacy tech so great? We’ve compiled a list of 22 reasons of why you should consider signing up for a pharmacy technician classes today!
1) What Do Pharmacy Techs Do? They Make a Difference!
While the pharmacist is accountable for the safe distribution of medications, a pharmacy tech takes care of their customers by preparing medications, contacting their doctors with any queries, and helping them find the most affordable medications possible.
Is a pharmacy technician a good job? Well, you’re a major part in ensuring that customers have healthier and happier lives. Whether it’s handling a tough workload, cleaning up after pharmacists, or catching a glitch, pharmacy technicians help to make life in the pharmacy that much easier. We’d say that’s a pretty great thing!
2) Work with People from All Backgrounds
Pharmacy techs serve an important role as a representative of their pharmacy, both in person and on the phone. These techs must have great customer service skills in order to handle the day-to-day influx of patrons and are a vital part of assisting them to live healthier lives.
3) Education from Day One
For pharmacy techs just entering the industry, it’s important to remember that instant success almost never happens. In order to make a splash, you’ll probably need to work your way up the ladder by impressing pharmacists and upper-management with your knowledge and how you handle responsibilities.
While this may seem overwhelming – or even boring at times – starting out lower on the food chain will help you understand the inner-workings of the pharmacy with ease and proficiency.
4) Affordable Education Is Available to Everyone
A pharmacy tech program costs far less than a two-year or four-year degree. If finances are tight (or you’re not comfortable taking out a lot of student loans), pharmacy technician certification might be a perfect fit for your needs.
5) Get Your Certification in Less than a Year
With an accredited pharmacy tech training program, you’ll learn everything you need to know about being a successful pharmacy technician in less than one year – and that even includes a clinical internship. A major benefit of these kinds of short programs is that they help you enter the workforce and start earning as soon as possible.
6) Flexible Pharmacy Tech Programs
Many pharmacy tech programs offer day, evening, and even weekend courses. If you have to worry about childcare, your full-time job, or any other daily responsibilities, a flexible schedule will help you keep a clearer head while you study.
7) Accredited Programs Offer Hands-on Pharmacy Tech Training
So each applicant is ready to handle everything that their future career throws them, pharmacy tech programs should include classroom education and hands-on training via clinical internships.
Whether it’s understanding HIPAA regulations, handling insurance claims, or filling prescriptions, this extra ‘real world’ training allows applicants to work under pharmacist supervision, giving them a serious edge on their competition.
8) Learn the Lingo
Learning medical terminologies and drug classifications isn’t just vital for your future career: It sounds cool, too! Each time you hear of new medical developments, you’ll have some great conversation material when you head into work.
9) Discover How the Human Body Responds to Medication
In pharmacy tech training programs, students study the effects that certain types of drugs and dosages have on the human body. In order to properly prepare and dispense medications, they’ll have to understand what these substances do. If a mistake is made by a pharmacist, pharmacy techs are the last line of defense (and vice-versa). It’d be pretty amazing to save a life during your day-to-day work.
10) Pharmacy Technician Certification Increases Hireability
While some retail pharmacies like Duane Reade and Wal-Mart might offer pharmacy tech training to prospective applicants, the most successful (and higher-earning) techs usually attend pharmacy technician schools first.
If you work in certain states, you may be required to obtain your pharm tech certification before starting to work. That said, accredited training can open so many doors to those who have successfully passed their certification exams.
11) Move up the Ladder…
If you’re willing to put in the extra effort at any job, your boss will probably notice. Many high-paid pharmacy techs started out dusting and stocking shelves but used the opportunity to simultaneously research drug families, medication interaction warnings, and more.
When you know pharmacology like the back of your hand, the pharmacist will start to rely on your expertise, making it much more likely that higher pharmacy technician pay will reflect these contributions.
13) …The Sky’s the Limit!
According to experts in the field, the only thing that can hold you back is you. If you take responsibility by spotting errors, duplications, or possible drug combination dangers, you’ll be recognized as a star member of the team. Not only that, but you’ll begin to develop a better understanding of your field (and where that can take you).
12) Find Employment in a Familiar, Stable Environment
Those with a history of customer service experience have got great opportunities when applying for a pharmacy tech job in a retail environment. No more stocking refrigerators or changing shifts at the last minute: pharmacy offers air conditioning in a well-lit, professional setting.
14) Wait – How Much Does a Pharmacy Technician Make?
It can be difficult to determine an accurate average pharmacy technician hourly salary for retail pharmacy techs, due to the difference in state and local wages. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, states that in 2017, the average certified pharmacy technician salary was $31,750.
Pharmacy techs who find work in medical and surgical hospitals, however, can expect higher averages that hover around $36,710. These higher salaries often reflect specific training like sterile compounding.
15) Enjoy a Stable, Growing Job Market
An excellent reason to become a pharmacy tech is the expansion of job growth. Owing much to a rapidly aging Baby Boomer generation, the projected job growth rate for all allied healthcare careers is higher than any other field in the United States.
Pharmacy tech jobs are expected to increase by 12% from 2016 to 2026. Therefore, there are – and will be – a large number of positions available for the foreseeable future.
16) You Can Find Work Everywhere
Tired of gray winters and thinking of moving somewhere warmer? Has your partner gotten a great promotion across the country? Most pharmacy technician requirements are the same everywhere, and you’ll be able to find work in every state and city in the United States.
17) Retail Pharmacies Are a Stepping Stone in Your Career
Most pharmacy techs start their careers in retail locations like Walgreens, Wal-Mart, and locally owned pharmacies, which are great ways to build necessary skillsets for their future career paths.
18) You’re Not Limited to Working in a Pharmacy
Most people erroneously believe that pharmacy techs are relegated to retail work, but opportunities abound wherever pharmacies are found (like in the military, general hospitals, long-term care facilities, and nursing homes). Positions are also springing up in exciting new sectors like insurance companies and pharmaceutical labs.
If you’re seeking employment at a hospital or long-term care facility, techs typically need to fulfill minimum work experience before being considered.
19) Working Hours Are Usually Pretty Flexible
If a pharmacy is open 24 hours per day, a pharmacy tech’s schedule can range from mornings to third shift to weekends. Usually, a standard schedule will be given by store management. Pharmacy technicians can be part-time or full-time (depending on the needs of the location), but you count on a fairly dependable time sheet.
20) Who Doesn’t Love Employee Discounts?
Working in a pharmacy has a great benefit that’s often overlooked: store-wide discounts. Is there any better way to end a shift than by saving money on items you already need?
21) Find a Job Through Your Internship
Pharmacy techs often develop their skills via a clinical internship – and may even receive job offers from those same clinical sites. If the timing works out and you’re a competent and professional pharmacy technician, you may have a job waiting for you immediately after graduation.
22) Decide if It’s the Right Path for You
Seeing as how they’re surrounded by terminologies and medications every working day, it’s not unheard of for pharmacy techs to pursue pharmacology or a degree in pharmacy. By working alongside pharmacists, you’ll soon understand whether or not a similar career is a good fit for you.
It’s common for most pharm techs to work as they put themselves through pharmacy school, and it’s not hard to see why: You can start paying off student loans before you even graduate!
Ready to Jump-start Your Career as a Pharmacy Tech?
To learn more about starting a career in this exciting field, be sure to check out the AIMS Pharmacy Technician program page!