A career in the field of pharmacy technology is one of the most promising occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The demand and employment for pharmacy technologists, also known as pharmacy techs, is expected to increase much faster than the average. In 2006, there are 285,000 employments for pharmacy techs, and it is expected to increase by as much as 32% until 2016. From this estimation, without a doubt, pharmacy technology is one of the most dynamic careers in the midst of economic slump. Thus, if you have seriously considered a career in this field and have the determination to succeed, it is of utmost importance to build a strong foundation by obtaining formal education and training from accredited pharmacy tech schools.
At present, there are no federal requirements that govern pharmacy tech programs; however, employers much favor technologists who have earned a diploma, a certificate or an associate degree from an accredited pharmacy tech school. Thus, completing a pharmacy tech degree gives you an edge in employment and could greatly help you attain a rewarding career in pharmacy technology. Pharmacy tech programs are obtained at community colleges, technical or vocational schools, hospitals and online university programs.
There are some factors that should be considered in choosing the right pharmacy tech school for you. Your priority is to enroll in a pharmacy tech program that is accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. The length of study and training mainly depends on the pharmacy tech program in which you have enrolled in. Typically, a diploma in pharmacy tech requires six months to a year of study, whereas, an associate degree takes about 18 months to complete.
The degree program usually consists of formal education in didactic, practical and laboratory areas of pharmacy practice. Before entry to any pharmacy tech program, students should have a high school diploma or its equivalent. You should also meet the prerequisites of the pharmacy tech school; thus, it is advisable to make some inquiries before signing up. A pharmacy tech, aside from having a strong educational background in pharmacy technology, should possess strong mathematics, writing and reading skills, and so, prerequisites could include courses that develop your competence in these areas.
Pharmacy tech courses that are typically included in the programs are as follows: medical terminology, pharmacy calculations or mathematics, pharmacology, pharmacy techniques and operations, pharmaceutical care delivery systems, pharmacy record keeping, pharmacy law and ethics, computer systems for pharmacy and pharmacy billing.
Majority of pharmacy tech training programs include internships, where prospective pharmacy techs gain hands-on experience in an actual health care setting or in a community pharmacy, supervised by a certified pharmacy tech or a licensed pharmacist. Theories are incorporated to real life situations. Application of knowledge is encouraged in practicum courses. Internships are an opportunity for prospective pharmacy techs to develop and enhance their skills as a preparation for a career in pharmacy technology.
A career in pharmacy technology starts by obtaining adequate knowledge and skills. If you have decided to build a career in this field, make the most of your education and training program.