A Glimpse at Pharmacy Technician Training
A good start to a long and beautiful career in the pharmaceutical industry is becoming a pharmacy technician, after undergoing a pharmacy technician training program. Most people would start looking for a good pharmacy technician training program, which is not a bad idea. To some extent, it may not even be directly called as a “pharmacy technician training program”, but a course that contains everything you need to become a licensed and certified pharmacy technician. Your local college should be a good place to start asking questions about any pharmacy technician training programs.
During your first year as a student of any pharmacy technicians training program, you will be learning about basic health care, taught to you by certified healthcare professionals like doctors and nurses. You will also be focused on learning about medical terminology, complex problem solving, basic drug pronunciation, and all kinds of drug interactions taught by pharmacists, doctors, and nurses. There are more technical programs that will focus on the chemical makeup of any drug or compound like acetaminophen, aspirin, paracetamol, and ibuprofen just to name a few. This may seem like a whole lot of information to consume on the first year, but these are all essential to your learnings as they will come out of your certification exams. A pharmacy technicians training program will also serve as a good framework for transitioning into a pharmacist career.
From outside looking in, a lot of these pharmacy technicians training programs are taught in actual classroom settings, complete with prerequisites. This basically means that a student cannot go or proceed to a new subject if he or she failed the prerequisite. For example, if I am going to fail Pharmacology 101, I cannot proceed to any of the subjects with Pharmacology 101 as a prerequisite. There is also a limit as to how many times you can retake the subject, depending on the school. At best, you’re going to be alright if you maintain a certain GPA even if you fail a lot of times, but this will reflect on your transcripts (including the grades you got for the previous takes).
For some pharmacy technician training programs, a student that passes all the prerequisite courses may be admitted into the actual program itself. The early years of the training program will serve as a filter to those who can proceed and those who cannot. The remaining time spent on the pharmacy technician training program will be focused more on advanced lessons like managing medical records, doing transcripts, and prescription management. Pharmacy administration is also included in the advanced subjects.
Pharmacy Technician Training:
Listed below is a breakdown of pharmacy technicians training program that one can usually find in a semester’s worth of work. The course work and the length of the class will vary from one school to another, so it’s best to check with your local colleges or institutions.
- Applied Pharmaceutical Calculations
- Psychology of human relations (Introductory Psychology may be used as a substitute) or any general psychology course
- Pharmacy Clinical experience (phase 1)
- Pharmacy Customer Relations
- Institutional Pharmacy Practice
- Orientation to Sterile Solutions
- Pharmacy Operations Lab
- Pharmacy Clinical experience (phase 2)
- Communication skills – entry level
- Medical Terminology
- Computers in healthcare
- Keyboarding or typing
- Introduction to pharmacy operations
- Pharmaceutical math and pharmacy calculations
- Introduction to Drug Classification
A lot of pharmacy technicians training programs are being offered every year, and the course outlines given to you by local college admissions offices will give you an idea of what you can expect out of the said training programs. It’s also a good idea to ask if their pharmacy technicians training program are accredited by the ASHP or American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. The main goal of the program is to provide adequate education for future pharmacy technicians who will be working with pharmacists or working their way towards becoming pharmacists after certifications and continuing education.
Online versus offline pharmacy technician training
So you’ve decided to enrol in a pharmacy technician training program and trust me, this is a very smart investment for you especially if you’re looking for a career in healthcare or in pharmaceutics. Becoming pharmacy technicians will help you go deeper in to the field of healthcare and you will be getting some long term benefits if you graduate from a pharmacy technician training program, like career security and advancement opportunities and the wonderful opportunity of being able to help people. Now, most people are torn between two options: taking up an online pharmacy technician training program or taking it at a brick and mortar classroom setting. So what are the major differences between the two?
Online Pharmacy Technician Training Schools
Online courses, specifically online pharmacy technician training programs, are relatively new, so they can be a bit intimidating to those who’re used to studying in a brick and mortar classroom. But an online pharmacy technician training program offers a lot more benefits compared to a brick and mortar classroom. First, there’s availability. Classes online are not limited to traditional September/January schedules, so you can take classes at any time of the year. This is referred to as a rolling admissions policy. People considering taking up online pharmacy technician training programs should be mindful of two things:
- They should always have a couple of hours dedicated to studying online, just like how your class schedules are part of your daily routine in a brick and mortar classroom setting.
- Bandwidth plays a crucial factor as you will spend most of your time downloading notes, video and audio files, and teleconferencing with your professors/classmates.
An online pharmacy technician training program is also a good alternative if there are no colleges in your area that offer pharmacy technician training courses and you don’t want to spend money on going across a different state.
Offline Pharmacy Technician Training Schools
Now when it comes to traditional brick and mortar classroom education, I can think of a few benefits that are not made available in an online pharmacy technician training program.
- Hands-on training is guaranteed
- Instructor is live and in person, so lessons are continuous without any virtual interference.
- Guaranteed job placement services after graduation/certification exams
- Schools are nationally accredited and recognized
If you’re lucky to have a local college or institution that offers pharmacy technician training programs, you can enjoy these benefits. #s 1 and 2 are a given because you cannot enjoy hands-on training in online classrooms, much less have easy access to professors in case of a consultation. When you’re attending a class in a classroom setting, your questions are immediately answered and you are able to progress faster in your learnings.
Some schools also offer job placement services after graduation or taking the certification exams. If you’re lucky, your school will help you locate a job after you graduate or after you pass your certifications. The latter is often the more chosen path by most schools, as there is no shortage of frequency in the scheduling of pharmacy technician certification exams.
Getting the best job after pharmacy technician training
People looking for a rewarding career in healthcare should start off with a career as a pharmacy technician if they don’t want to become nurses or doctors. Their services are just as invaluable as a nurse’s or doctors. A pharmacy technician with the right training and certification will handle the medications to be given to the patients in the hospital or assist laboratories in the creation of new pharmaceutical products.
Completion of a pharmacy technician training program and passing the certification exams are your best options for landing the best jobs after your schooling. This will open doors of opportunities to kick-start your career as a pharmacy technician. By the time you are required to get a new certification, you will be prompted to pursue continuing education programs to help you advance further, like a graduate studies or units of life science subjects.
What Kind of Pharmacy Technician Training is Necessary?
There are a handful of pharmacy technician training programs available all across the United States, United Kingdom, and in other countries. Some programs are not entirely called or referred to as “pharmacy technician training” but they will cover the basic skills to help you with the certification exams. There are certificate programs, which are not to be confused with certification programs, that last for weeks (10 to 20) and are usually enrolled by people who want a quick overview of the world of pharmaceuticals and its related careers. The course outline for these certificate programs is more than adequate to give students a solid background to let them work in a pharmacy.
On the other hand, you will have pharmacy technician training programs that last for more than a year, or which we refer to as diploma programs. These programs are geared towards helping students pass their certifications and getting better career opportunities as opposed to a certificate program. The course outline of diploma pharmacy technician training programs is more intricate and complex as it builds a better understanding in the world of pharmaceuticals and its implications in the real world.
Subjects found in associate degrees or Bachelor’s degrees are: Human Anatomy, Chemistry, Human Physiology, Pharmacology, Medical/Pharmaceutical Terminology, Pharmacy Administration and Computing, Pharmacy Inventory Control, Dosages and Calculations, Pharmaceutical Law, Medication Preparation, Drug Compounding, Prescription Labeling, Drug Emergencies, Medical/Insurance Billing, and a quite a few more extra subjects that are dependent on the school that offers the program. The schools may also have different names for these subjects, so it’s best to compare course outlines or syllabi.
Externships Are a Part of Pharmacy Technician Training
People who undergo diploma pharmacy technician training programs are expected to complete externships or On-The-Job training as part of their educational and certification requirements. In some states, you will not be allowed to take the certification exams if you don’t render OJT or externship hours. Do not worry as OJT or Externships are part of the curricula for a lot of schools that offer pharmacy technician training program.
Externship pharmacy technician training programs are purposely done to give students an idea of what it’s like to work as a pharmacy technician in the real world. they will be given tasks that are assigned to certified pharmacy technicians, with careful guidance and supervision from their pharmacists. The externship pharmacy technician training programs usually take place in retail environment, but there are those that also take place inside hospitals.
The amount of time you need to render will vary, as there are schools that require 300 hours and some offer a bit higher or lower than 300. Whatever the hours may be, the goal will still be the same.
Employment After Pharmacy Technician Training
Certification is the next goal after completing the pharmacy technician training programs. This is a quantitative measure of your skills and knowledge as a pharmacy technician before you can proceed working as one. Some states in the USA will be requiring certifications for their pharmacy technicians.
Certifications are important because they encourage you to pursue continuing education in pharmacy technician training program. After two years, you will be required to take the certification exam along with a prerequisite of at least 20 hours or 20 hours’ worth of units in continuing education.
After getting certified, you will be asked to renew your certification two years after that. Part of your requirement for renewing your certification is to take up at least 20 hours’ worth of continuing education in pharmacy technician training program.
Continuing education often comes in the form of other pharmacy technician training programs, or another course that’s related to the healthcare careers presented. You can only take up one form of pharmacy technician training program, so the continuing education may need to be a graduate degree (Master’s) or further studies into pharmacology to prep you for a career as pharmacists.
When you’re thinking about becoming a pharmacy technician, you need to ask about your nearest pharmacy technician training programs being offered so you can decide on your next step.