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Number of Pharmacy Technician Careers Skyrocket
Hiring a pharmacist is expensive, so pharmacies and hospitals are turning to pharmacy technicians as a cost effective way to fill prescriptions and administer medicine. This leads to an expected demand for people who hold pharmacy technician certifications. According to the US Department of Labor, pharmacy technician careers are expected to rise over the next six years by as much as 35%. After years of development, online colleges are becoming one of the major players in pharmacy technician training.

Even though Federal and State law rarely require certification for pharmacy technicians, employers often want to see evidence of formal training or experience (including certification) before hiring. Why?

First of all, because it minimizes training time. Employers need people who can work independently as soon as possible. Secondly, because attending a pharmacy technician school shows commitment, which is something many entry-level employees lack. And thirdly, because so many pharmaceutical practices (like medical terminology and record keeping) require specific knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry.

What Pharmacy Technician Schools Will Do For You

Pharmacy technician career training includes:
  • Pharmaceutical terminology Measuring, filling, and labeling prescriptions
  • Pricing and filing prescriptions in preparation for a pharmacist to review before the patients receive them
  • Writing and updating patient files and records
  • Assembling 24 hour medicine supplies for patients in hospitals (labeling each dose separately)
  • Receiving prescriptions from doctors and patients and verifying information
  • Preparation for a pharmacy technician certification.
Online pharmacy technician schools offer the unique ability to continue with a current job as while preparing for a new career. With benefits like flexible schedules and student loans, it's ideal for a working parent, home maker, or someone wanting to return to school to earn hours towards an associate's degree.

About Pharmacy Technician Certifications

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board gives a voluntary exam several times a year to qualified candidates. In order to take the exam, candidates must have a clean criminal record and a high school diploma or GED. Passing the exam earns the title 'Certified Pharmacy Technician' or CPhT.

Technicians have to recertify every two years, but before they are eligible, pharmacy technicians need 20 contact hours of pharmacy topics. Ways to earn hours include on the job training, college time, and attending lectures. At least one of those hours should be in pharmacy law. Technicians can earn up to ten of those twenty hours by working under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist.

Working Conditions and Hours for Pharmacy Technicians

Most pharmacy technicians enjoy a clean working atmosphere. In retail pharmacies and hospitals alike, expect a well lit, organized area. Technicians sometimes have to lift heavy boxes of medicine to and from high shelves.

Pharmacy technicians can find part-time and full-time employment. Because more pharmacies stay open all night, pharmacy technicians sometimes work graveyard shifts. This is especially true with newly hired technicians. As seniority increases, so does choice of hours.

Who Is Hiring and What They Offer

In 2002, the US Department of Labor reported 211,000 pharmacy technician jobs. Right now, they estimate the number of jobs at 275,000. Two thirds of them are from retail pharmacies. They expect this number to go up, as the drug industry creates and produces specialized drugs for specific problems. The average income for pharmacy technicians employed by retail pharmacies was $10.54 per hour. This number probably includes a large group without formal training. Pharmacy technician certification increases the chances of starting at a higher rate.

Hospitals and health care facilities hired twenty two percent of pharmacy technicians. They paid an hourly average rate of $12.32. This higher wage is probably due to union memberships and stricter hiring standards. Many require a pharmacy technician certificate.

Online Pharmacy Technicians account for most of the remaining jobs, but expect this number to rise as more people use the internet as a less expensive alternative to buy their medication. An online pharmacy technician diploma is one of the easiest ways to break into the exciting field of pharmacy.
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