Working as a pharmacy technician is an extremely rewarding experience. If you enjoy helping people or just need a new career path, this may be the one for you! There are many different types of programs that will provide the knowledge required, such as those provided by technical schools, online courses or community college classes.
Technical schools and community colleges provide hands-on skill building. The courses are typically taught by people that have worked in the field and have experience as a pharmacy technician. These types of programs will set you up with an unpaid internship so you will have pharmacy experience to put on your resume. Formal classes are also a great idea if you have a hard time studying independently.
If you would rather be able to work at your own pace, then online courses are probably the better option. However, there is usually a requirement for hours worked in a pharmacy before the certification can be granted. Locating a pharmacy to work in is your responsibility as a student in most cases.
Cost-wise, online courses are generally more inexpensive than technical schools and community colleges. Formal training institutions have financial advisers that are willing to work with you to fund your education.
Once the education path has been chosen, the next step is to decide on the desired pharmacy environment. Retail pharmacies are excellent options for people who enjoy working with the public. Hospital pharmacies are perfect for people that are a little more introverted. Beyond the world of hospital and retail, there are home infusion pharmacies, pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, public clinic pharmacies and many more. Job prospects will be bountiful with a well-rounded skill set.
When the on-the-job training begins, it is best to try to train in the environment that coincides with the skills required for a future position. For example, if you wanted to ultimately work in a hospital environment, then you should probably do your internship in a hospital pharmacy. Since more advanced skills are generally required for hospital jobs, some technicians will choose to build their intravenous medication admixture techniques to secure more job options for the future.
There are many different types of certifications available to a pharmacy technician. One of the most prominent is the national exam offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. This certification is actually required in some states. The exam is made up of one hundred questions chosen from a pool of nine hundred, so everyone will get a slightly different test. There are also various job-specific certifications obtainable through different organizations, such as the National Pharmacy Technician Association.
Education is only the first step. The classes you take will give you a solid foundation to use in the field after graduation. Research your options and find the best plan that works for you.