The pharmaceutical industry is one of the most stable in America. 60 percent of all Americans take prescription medications. This makes careers in the pharmaceutical sector consistent and flourishing. There’s no better time to consider becoming a pharmacy technician.
Forget the responsibilities of running an entire pharmacy, the technician handles day-to-day tasks. You get to work with the public, be part of a team, and enjoy many benefits.
And, getting into the field isn’t complicated. Keep reading for the exact steps on how to become a pharmacy technician.
1. Finish High School
The first step to landing this dream career is to finish high school. You need your high school diploma to apply to training programs. If you’re an adult looking to switch careers, that’s not a problem. Simply complete your GED at an adult-learning center near you. As for the classes you can take in high school to help you prepare, stick to the sciences. You’ll need to have a strong knowledge of chemistry and biology. Math is also crucial for this career. You’ll need to start developing some crucial skills to succeed as a pharmacy technician. Practicing paying attention to details, organization, and communicating well. As a customer-facing position, you should be able to communicate with strangers.
2. Complete a Training Program
Once you have your GED, you can move on to step two. You need to complete an accredited training program.Many local colleges provide pharmacy technician programs. Most are only 1-2 years long and are full-time. You may be thinking, “I don’t have the time to commit to full-time classes on campus”. If that’s you, rest assured there are other options. You can enroll in online programs to work at your own pace, like Ultimate Medical Academy. The difference between in-person schooling and online? Not much, other than you might not be able to practice communication skills online. Ensure you work on these skills on the side if you choose online schooling.
3. Pass Certification Exam
Regardless of if you complete online or in-person training, both prepare you for the next step. Passing the board exam is the biggest milestone on your path to becoming a pharmacy technician.
Depending on your state, you’ll need certification from one of two organizations. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the National Healthcareer Association. You can look at the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy website to see where your state falls. Some states don’t require pharmacy technicians to have a certification at all.
But, you should still consider getting it if you’re in one of these states. Having one looks great on your resume and many employers prefer you have your certification.
To pass the board exam, make sure you study well in advance. Some pharmacy technicians spent many months preparing for the test. And, once you pass, all that hard work will be worth it.
4. Land an Internship
Before you can get hired as a pharmacy technician, you need some on-the-job training. To get this experience, obtain an internship at a pharmacy. If you’re lucky, your training program will have a co-op option. You might be able to work at the pharmacy to complete your school credits. This also counts as job experience. Plus, it’s common for pharmacists to hire pharmacy technicians they’ve interned. They get to see your work ethic and skills for a few months. Doing an internship could land you your first paying job.
If your schooling doesn’t offer an internship, you can seek one out. Approach pharmacists in your city and pitch them on hiring you as an intern. Most pharmacy interns make around minimum wage. While that’s not a lot, at least you’re getting compensated for your work. Internships in other industries don’t always pay.
5. Maintain an Active Certification
This is an important step to remember for later. Your board certification or license expires every two years. It’s routine for pharmacy technicians to re-certify before their current one expires. This could mean brushing up on your school notes and refreshing your mind on procedures. You’ll be re-certifying for the rest of your career, so it’s best to get in the habit of preparing to do so.
6. Network and Explore Your Options
Perhaps your interning pharmacy hired you on when it ended. That’s amazing news and a great first step in your official career. But, remember that you don’t have to stay in one job forever. Keep your options open and be on the lookout for better opportunities. Working in a community pharmacy is different from working in a hospital pharmacy. If you’re interested in that side of the field, keep an eye out for chances to get in. Networking is a crucial part of being a pharmacy technician. You never know who the customer is on the other side of the counter. They could be the hiring manager at an establishment hiring pharmacy technicians. Go to industry events and make connections with your professional peers. These connections can lead you to your next position.
7. Potential Future Prospects
What’s the potential for growth for pharmacy technicians? It’s strong if you can learn new skills and improve your abilities in your career. Some pharmacy technicians advance their careers through retail settings. Others go on to pursue a career as a pharmacist. Since the aging population is the biggest consumer of pharmaceuticals, job growth is steady. You can expect new job openings every day and new opportunities often.
Still Wondering How to Become a Pharmacy Technician?
This popular field of work continues to grow each year. If you’re interested in a job with security, teamwork, and room for growth, consider becoming a pharmacy technician. Follow the steps above on how to become a pharmacy technician. When you’re ready to apply to pharmacy technician jobs, check out our Resume Articles. Having an impeccable resume is crucial to landing the job you want.
For more great career topics, check out the other blogs on Career Geek.