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How to Become a Pharmacy Technician Job Description Pharmacy Technicians work alongside Pharmacists and have many different responsibilities in their job setting. Job requirements include measuring and labeling medications, counting pills, working with patient records and taking insurance information. Pharmacy technicians may also compile drug and supply inventory, order supplies, and clean equipment. Work Environment Pharmacy Technicians work in well-­‐lighted labs and stores, and they stand a majority of the time. These career professionals usually work over 40 hours per week including evenings and weekends. In some hospitals that are open 24 hours per day, there are many shifts available. Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians have to be able to use a computer for maintaining patients’ records, printing labels, and updating inventory records. Pharmacy Technicians are required to lift and move heavy boxes of supplies and push delivery carts in a hospital environment. Career Outlook The field for Pharmacy Technicians has increased due to more retail and grocery stores providing pharmacy services. Jobs are available in many settings including hospitals, drug stores, grocery, club and some retail chain stores. With Pharmacists becoming more involved with direct patient care, the need for Pharmacy Technicians to step in and help is immense. Income California Labor Market Information lists monthly wages for Pharmacy Technicians: Entry Pay ($2,541); Average Pay ($3,066); and Top Pay ($3,495 +). A recent pay-­‐scale study shows that a Pharmacy Technician working in a hospital setting makes $2 to $3 more per hour than a tech working for a franchise. Technicians who specialize in computer operations make more than those who specialize in other areas. Nuclear Pharmacy Technicians tend to make more money than a non-­‐specialized Pharmacy Technicians but require much more specialized training. There are many benefits associated with working as a Pharmacy Technician, including health insurance and price breaks on prescriptions. Some jobs offer shift work, which is 1 How to Become a Pharmacy Technician appealing to many people looking for longer hours with more days off. Retirement plans are often offered, as are opportunities for promotion. Education Pharmacy Technician: Aspiring Pharmacy Technicians should choose accredited schools in order to ensure that they receive a quality education. According to the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, the American Society of Health-­‐System Pharmacists (ASHP) is one agency that evaluates Pharmacy Technician training programs. Most Pharmacy Technician programs can be finished in less than 12 months, making this profession appealing due to its short certification time. However, some graduates of a Pharmacy Technician program earn an Associate of Science degree. The type of credential earned depends on the school and length of the program. A Pharmacy Technician who earns the Associate's degree may be more desirable to employers seeking to hire entry-­‐
level employees. Students enrolled in a Pharmacy Technician program take a variety of courses in order to prepare for a career in the field. Typical classes include courses in medical and pharmaceutical technology, pharmaceutical techniques, pharmaceutical ethics and pharmacy law. Future Pharmacy Technicians learn how to calculate proper medication dosages. Before graduating from a Pharmacy Technician program, students must also complete an internship to gain real-­‐world experience in the field. Interns may work in pharmacies located in hospitals or retail establishments. They work under the supervision of experienced Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians to gain practical skills they will use in the workplace. Foothill College Certificate, Pharmacy Technician Program (nine-­‐month sequence of instruction) A.S. Degree, Pharmacy Technician Program (two-­‐year course sequence for degree and allows the student the ability to transfer to a four-­‐year program or to enter the job market with additional technical and theoretical background) 2 How to Become a Pharmacy Technician License To practice Pharmacy in California, a person must meet the Registered Pharmacist requirements of the California Board of Pharmacy provided in the Pharmacist Licensure Examinations. The licensing process is primarily composed to 2 examinations: 1. North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) 2. California Practice Standards and Jurisprudence Examination for Pharmacists (CPJE) Pharmacy Technician Requirements for the license: • A.A. or A.S. Degree in Pharmacy Tech or completion of accredited Pharmacy Tech training program; • Minimum of 1,500 hours as a Pharmacy Clerk OR; • 1 year and minimum of 1,500 hours performing duties as a Pharmacy Technician; • License renewal every 2 years According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of states within the U.S. require Pharmacy Technicians to register with the State Pharmacy Board. Despite this fact, certification as a Pharmacy Technician is often not required. Pharmacy Technicians who choose to earn certification can take a national exam developed by the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT) or the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). Special Considerations If you are becoming a Pharmacy Technician, there are a few things to watch out for. When you begin a job, ask specifically if shift and on-­‐call work will be required. Some pharmacies require techs to work on call during the weekends, limiting the time that they can spend with their families. Be prepared, also, to be on your feet all day at work. Though most employers provide carpets to stand on, standing for 8 hours a day can cause back and neck problems. Sources of Additional Information 3 How to Become a Pharmacy Technician Pharmacists & Pharmacy Technicians must be licensed through: California Board of Pharmacy 625 North Market Blvd., Suite N219 Sacramento, Ca 95834 (916) 574-­‐7900 Accreditation Council on Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE) 20 North Clark Street, Ste. 2500 Chicago, IL 60602-­‐5109 www.acpe-­‐ (312) 644-­‐3575 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) 1426 Prince St. Alexandria, VA 22314-­‐2541 (703) 739-­‐2330 American Pharmacists Association 2215 Constitution Ave., NW Washington, DC 20037 (202) 628-­‐4410 Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-­‐2011 Available in the Career Center Library Room 8329, (650) 949-­‐7229 Eureka: The California Career Information System Site Code: For current Foothill students only, please contact the Career Center California Employment Development Dept: Bureau of Labor Statistics: 4