There are quite a few options for work environments for pharmacy technicians. Working in a traditional, stand-alone pharmacy is not ideal for some people. Another popular option is working at a military base, perhaps overseas, but that isn’t everyone’s dream job, either. However, working in a hospital can be a great choice for many pharmacy technicians. Working in a hive of activity, having easier access to the physicians and patients being served, and having a better chance of working with a diverse amount of medications can be an exciting career path. The best news is that the job growth for this field is fantastic.
Job Outlook for Pharmacy Technicians
The Bureau of Labor Services (BLS) offers up some very attractive numbers for individuals interested in pursuing this field. The job growth for pharmacy technicians is projected to be 32%, which is well above the average. On the other hand, the average salary is $28,400 or $13.65 per hour. This is a respectable salary, but it may not be feasible for individuals carrying student loan debt. This is something to consider when pursuing this career path.
Education Requirements for Pharmacy Technicians
According to the BLS, pharmacy technicians are required to have a high school diploma. Keep in mind that this is a general requirement that can vary depending on employers. Some pharmacies might require or prefer a candidate with a degree or certification. Related degrees might include Chemistry, General Science, or even Business or Communication. Since the industry is slated to grow rapidly in coming years, holding a degree may help with securing a job.
Job Duties of Pharmacy Technicians
Every pharmacy technician is required to pull double duty as a customer service representative. A pharmacy technician’s day to day life includes helping pharmacists prepare and dispense medications, possibly preparing ointments and creams, processing prescriptions via phone and email, and a generous peppering of customer service. Administrative tasks may also fall under the job description of a pharmacy technician. Maintaining client files, following up with requests and even keeping tabs on calendaring are all possibilities.
Work life in a hospital is a little bit different than a traditional pharmacy. It’s fairly easy to assess if 40 hours a week in a hospital setting is an attractive work environment. Plusses include being able to work more closely with physicians, having a variety of medications to handle and dispense, and working with a large number of patients. Oftentimes, hospital pharmacies have limited hours which can be great for those who want a traditional 9-5 weekday position.
Personality Traits of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians must have the unique combination of being highly detail oriented and having a warm personality. Compassion, understanding, and being able to connect with multiple personality types are critical traits. At the same time, the ability to successfully complete sometimes redundant tasks without error is paramount. Aspiring pharmacy technicians shouldn’t worry if they do not innately possess all of these traits. A lot of these characteristics can be developed and honed over time. A degree program and on-the-job experience are both excellent opportunities to foster career skills.
Career Path for Pharmacy Technicians
A career as a pharmacy technician can be a great life-long career. However, some people see it as a way to test the waters for a degree as a pharmacist. This is an excellent job for students pursuing a bachelor’s degree or Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD). There are not many fields with so much opportunity to see the reality of a career firsthand. Some pharmacy technicians reaffirm that this is the right career path while others may realize that a career as a pharmacy technician is preferable over advancing to a career as a pharmacist.