The demand for pharmacy technician training is on the rise due to the fast growing population and the need for health care. With employment opportunities expected to increase by 25% to reach close to 400,000 positions by 2016, trained pharmacy techs can have their pick of jobs and a plush pharmacy technician salary.
The fact is that even today, job postings specify a preference for applicants who are already certified or at least pursuing training for certification. A higher salary is not the only reason to pursue training either. A pharmacy technician is an important member of the pharmacy team and doing a good job requires a large amount of knowledge and skills. Pursuing training is certainly very important to achieving the professional skills and competency necessary for the job.
Pharmacy tech programs are offered online and on-campus. The program consists of 36 credits, which can usually be completed in about 12 months. Both on-campus and online programs will cover courses in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, prescription information and labels, pharmaceutical calculations, drug classifications, and pharmacy operations which include customer care, inventory, billing and computer systems.
Online Pharmacy Technician Training
There are plenty of online programs that offer self-paced courses for students. Online training is the most convenient and often the cheapest option for working students or other busy individuals because the courses can be taken at the student’s own pace and schedule.
Aside from convenience, choosing an online program allows students to enroll in an excellent program that would otherwise have been located too far from where they are. The only downside to online training is the lack of an internship component, which is important for gaining hands on experience.
Those who make online training their only option must invest some time researching for a reputable online Pharmacy Technician school that offers a flexible internship program after the online courses have been completed, so that valuable hands-on experience is not missed.
In addition, when choosing online programs, ensure that strong instructors and administrative support is available through email and virtual community resources such as forums, webinars, group blogging, instant messaging and shared work spaces for collaborative problem solving and projects.
On-Campus Pharmacy Technician Schools
On campus programs often offer more support, interaction and more opportunities for cooperative peer-to-peer learning. Full-time and part-time programs are available, but both have deadlines on when the program must be completed.
One of the primary advantages of choosing an on-campus program is the internship placement to pharmacies, hospitals and other medical institutions in the community. This component is valuable not just in terms of gaining experience, but also in building a network of contacts for employment purposes. Many pharmacy techs have found good jobs prospects through their internship placement, so this benefit cannot be overemphasized.
Certification and Continuing Education
In addition to pharmacy technician training, pharmacy techs can take a Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam to become certified. Once certified, techs will also have to complete 20 hours of continuing education courses every two years. This requirement will ensure that certified pharmacy technicians continue to update their knowledge and skills towards excellent patient care and service.