The profession of pharmacy technician consistently ranks among the top 100 growing job categories, with long-term annual growth projected at a steady 3%, and some estimates of recent growth as high as 25% per year.
The employment and career advancement market for pharmacy technicians has an outstanding outlook.
Why is this?
Increased professional visibility, credentialing and need
The role of the pharmacy technician has been expanding for many years. This is largely because of the increasing formalization of the training and credentialing process. A couple of decades ago, most pharmacy technicians were not so defined by education, but de-facto, through on-the-job training. In these cases, their expertise was often limited to one or a few tasks that their employer needed at the time.
Invisible in the past
During this period, pharmacy technicians were not generally known of, either. Many employers who could have benefitted from the contributions of a pharmacy technician just never thought of the idea, or realized that other companies were training their own pharmacy technicians and successfully turning over functions of their operations to them.
But not now
But things are different now. With the advent of certification standards, formal educational requirements, competency exams, and state board of pharmacy registrations, a widespread awareness of pharmacy technician and recognition of the value they bring has arisen.
At the same time, both employers and education programs have continued to expand the roles and responsibilities that can be trusted to pharmacy technicians. As a consequence of these trends, the societal role of the pharmacy technician continues to grow, and the daily work life of the pharmacy technician grows ever more varied and interesting.
Drivers of these trends
Some of the key drivers of these trends – and reason that the pay for pharmacy technicians keeps going up as well – are:
The institution of certification programs has helped define the profession and increased interest and confidence in the value of pharmacy technicians.
The awareness of the roles in which a pharmacy technician are of great value is steadily increasing in all the applicable industries, including private pharmacies and drugstore chains, hospitals, extended-care facilities, clinics, community health centers and pharmaceutical companies.
Improved definition of the profession
The collaborative development of curricula for pharmacy technician training has brought more attention and credibility to the field.
With increased attention on cost-effectiveness and maximized patient outcomes, hospital pharmacies have focused more and more on incorporating pharmacy technicians in expanded roles.
Expanding scope of responsibilities
The status of pharmacy technicians has steadily advanced from being given primarily clerical responsibilities in the past to more and more authority and participation in patient care, pharmaceutical compounding, and management of chemotherapy and nuclear medicine regimens, research, and direct interaction with healthcare professionals in the role of pharmaceutical industry representative. Pharmacy technicians are now also members of pharmaceutical boards, governance bodies and trade associations.
The range and scope of pharmacy technician’s contributions has continued to expand, as their value to not just pharmacies, hospitals and long-term care facilities and pharmaceutical companies, but also to health insurance companies, pharmaceutical wholesalers and others is recognized.
The scope of the pharmacy technician’s work in traditional settings, such as within pharmacies, has also expanded to include many more advanced functions including high-tech equipment management and maintenance, pharmaceutical compounding, and inventory management.
The increased proportion of the elderly in the demographics of developing countries has led to an increased need for the services of pharmacy technicians to play a crucial role in this growing demographic’s healthcare needs.
The continuing innovations in the pharmaceutical industry create an ongoing demand for pharmacy technicians to play a central role in the dispensation, management, compounding, and patient education regarding the growing panoply of options. Pharmacists have ever and ever greater need for assistance to keep up with advances in the field and increased need for their services.
In summary, pharmacy technicians are the beneficiaries of two strong trends:
- an increased awareness of, and appreciation of, the valuable roles they can play; and
- numerous sociological, political and industry R&D trends that increase the need for their services every day.